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Examining user-generated content, service failure recovery and customer–brand relationships: an exploration through commitment-trust theory

Wilson Ozuem (Business School, University of Cumbria-Lancaster Campus, Lancaster, UK)
Michelle Willis (Business School, University of Cumbria-Lancaster Campus, Lancaster, UK) (Guildhall School of Business and Law, London Metropolitan University, London, UK)
Kerry Howell (Faculty of Business and Law, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK)
Silvia Ranfagni (Department of Economics and Business Sciences, Faculty of Economics, University of Florence, Firenze, Italy)
Serena Rovai (Department of Marketing, Excelia Business School, La Rochelle, France)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 4 April 2023

578

Abstract

Purpose

User-generated content (UGC) and service failure have attracted considerable marketing inquiry over the last two decades. Previous studies primarily focused on the outcome of service failure and the impact of UGC on perceived failure severity. This article departs from previous studies as it examines the moderating role of UGC on the relationship between service failure recovery (SFR) and customer–brand relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on commitment-trust theory and from a phenomenological hermeneutical perspective, this article explores this phenomenon through the interpretation of 60 in-depth interviews with millennials from three European countries: Italy, France and the UK. An analysis of the data was conducted using a qualitative approach to understand the main constructs and relationships derived from the data.

Findings

This study conceptualises four distinct moderating characteristics of UGC in the SFR process: satisfaction with experience and brand, dissatisfaction with experience and brand, satisfaction with brand and dissatisfaction with brand. The insights from the responsiveness, empathetic response, counterfactual thinking and brand salience (RECB) framework contribute to research on UGC and shed light on the relationship between SFR and consumer–brand relationships in the fashion industry.

Originality/value

Overall, this study demonstrates that customer interactions with UGC significantly affect their responses to, and relationships with, a brand. The proposed framework opens up interesting avenues for future research on the moderating role of UGC on the relationship between SFR and customer–brand relationships.

Keywords

Citation

Ozuem, W., Willis, M., Howell, K., Ranfagni, S. and Rovai, S. (2023), "Examining user-generated content, service failure recovery and customer–brand relationships: an exploration through commitment-trust theory", Internet Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-07-2022-0580

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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