Sunday, 24 September 2017

Typically, customer satisfaction is influenced by the individual’s prior experiences with the
service provider.There is some evidence to suggest that emotional bonding or relationship status
might make customers more lenient towards service providers in the case of service failures (e.g.
Mattila, 2004). On the other hand, researchers also argue that perceived losses arising from
service failures are highly detrimental among customers with high prior cumulative satisfaction
(Bitner et al., 1990; Bolton, 1998). Loyal customers might retaliate if they feel betrayed by a
service failure (Grégoire & Fisher, 2008). Conversely, customers with low levels of emotional
bonding might be highly “forgiving” as long as the service recovery is effectively handled
(Mattila, 2004).
Relationship status is indeed a concept that is closely related to fairness. For example,
Aggarwal and Larrick (2012) introduce the notion of communal versus exchange relationships
to the recovery literature. Communal and exchange relationships were first identified in the
interpersonal relationships literature (Clark, 1981; Clark & Mills, 1979; Clark, Mills & Corcoran,
1989) but have also been applied to consumer contexts (Aggarwal, 2004; Goodwin, 1996;
Johnson & Grimm, 2010; Wan et al., 2011). In communal relationships, members benefit from
each other on the basis of needs or to demonstrate general concern for each other’s welfare
(Clark, 1984). Conversely, in exchange relationships, members benefit from each other in
response to specific benefits received in the past or expected in the future (Clark & Mills, 1979;
Mills & Clark, 1982). Aggarwal & Larrick (2012) show that consumers who have a communal
relationship with a brand are more sensitive to interactional fairness under conditions of low
distributive fairness while those who have an exchange relationship are more receptive when
distributive fairness is high.

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