The impact of customer compassion on face-to-face and online complaints

Yoo Hee Hwang, Anna S. Mattila

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Customer complaints play an important role in firm performance as
complaints enable service recovery and provide feedback for new
product development. This study is among the first to investigate the
impact of customer compassion on face-to-face complaints and
online review posting behaviors following a service failure. Using an
experimental design, either compassion or neutral emotion was
primed. In an ostensibly unrelated task, individuals read a service
failure scenario in the restaurant (Study 1) and hotel setting (Study 2).
In Study 1, results show that individuals primed with compassion (vs.
neutral emotion) were less likely to lodge a direct complaint. In Study
2, results show that participants were equally likely to post a negative
online review regardless of the emotion prime. Practitioners might
want to consider diversifying their customer complaint channels to
deter compassionate customers from turning to social media to voice
their dissatisfaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)848-868
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Hospitality Marketing and Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020


  • Customer complaint
  • compassion
  • complaint channel
  • online review
  • prosocial emotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of customer compassion on face-to-face and online complaints'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this