2019 Volume 11 Issue 1 Pages 7-12
Posting negative comments on viral websites can be regarded as a kind of complaint behavior, that adequate responses to those negative e-WOMs from supplier may cure customer's dissatisfaction and are effective to their repurchasing decision making. In our previous study, we have examined the effect of replies and found that responding to negative review had positive effect. Also, the effect of empathetic response differed depending on customer's motivation for posting negative e-WOMs. However, some factors relating customers' attributes or purchasing contexts are not well discussed. Based on these backgrounds, we have examined how the customers' gender and the attributes of merchandize may figure in, with respect to the psychological effect that supplier's empathetic response may have on customers who write negative reviews. 881 participants were surveyed by web-based questionnaire to measure the psychological effect of reply itself and the empathy expressed in it. The results showed that gender of the contributor and controllability of the problem are both significantly affecting the evaluation of supplier's responses. While in case of “low controllable” problem, the results agree well with earlier studies, in case of “high controllable” problem, empathetic comments worked negatively. This study implicates that the type of response expected for negative reviews is qualitatively different from what is expected in the case of a ‘complaint' which requires certain response from the supplier.