Research Papers

Abstract

Nowadays, most consumers consult review platforms or engage in word-of-mouth communication before making a purchase decision. If negative statements concerning a firm or its products occur, the main question is how to adequately react to such negative messages that can be characterised by a rational and emotional dimension. This paper investigates how these dimensions interact between a negative message and the firm’s response which acts as its counterpart. In addition, the sender of the reply to the negative message was considered as a factor influencing the purchase intention. Results show that arguments play an important role when responding to negative messages. While good arguments enhance the probability that the purchase intention increases, bad arguments reduce this probability significantly. Furthermore, the strategy of how to respond to negative statements depends on the preceding message itself and its composition. Only in the case of a very expressive initial message, the expressiveness of the firm’s message has a higher impact on the purchase intention than argument quality. In this case it is also advisable to use a brand advocate as the sender of the reply. In general, a lower expressiveness is better for the purchase intention than a higher one.

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