Although word of mouth (WOM) affects customers’ purchasing intentions to a large extent, prior research has neglected the role of WOM as a driver of customer satisfaction.
Several scholars have suggested that WOM can not only affect customer expectation but also can influence perceived quality. Consistent with existing research results and the expectancy disparity model, this paper established a causal relation between WOM and customer satisfaction and confirmed it was drawing on an experimental study.
This paper indicates that positive or negative WOM affects customer satisfaction by promoting or lowering customers’ expectations. This relation is moderated by product type, rather than the source of the WOM. With experience goods, positive (negative) WOM will decrease (increase) customer satisfaction. However, with search goods, positive (negative) WOM will increase (decrease) customer satisfaction.
The results of this study have implications for academia and management. Academically, this study establishes the causal relation between WOM and customer satisfaction, expanding the research on the relation between WOM and satisfaction. From a managerial perspective, the promotion of WOM also can create certain service risks.
This work was partially supported by NSFC (71371034 and 71372194), the Program for NCET (NCET-13-0687), the National Basic Research Program of China (2012CB315805) and the Youth Research and Innovation Program in Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (2014ZD02).
Shi, W., Tang, L., Zhang, X., Gao, Y. and Zhu, Y. (2016), "How does word of mouth affect customer satisfaction?", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 393-403. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-07-2014-0139Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited