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Thinking about service encounters boosts talking about them

Magnus Söderlund (Center for Consumer Marketing, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden)
Jan Mattsson (Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 25 March 2019

Issue publication date: 18 June 2019




This paper aims to examine the impact of thinking about an event as an antecedent to subsequent talk about this event with others (i.e. word-of-mouth). Thinking has been a neglected variable in word-of-mouth research, despite the fact that several conceptual arguments indicate that thinking is likely to enhance talking. Here, the thinking–talking association is examined in the context of service encounters.


Data were collected with a critical incident method, and the main variables were measured with questionnaire items.


Thinking about a service encounter – after it has been completed – had a positive influence on subsequent talk to others about the encounter. The association was mediated by the memorability of the service encounter and the extent to which what had happened had been subject to rehearsal with the purpose of telling others about it. In addition, with respect to antecedents of consumer thinking, the results indicate that service encounter incongruity had a special role in why the consumer thinks about encounters after they have been completed.


The findings should be seen in relation to the dominant position of customer satisfaction as an antecedent to word-of-mouth in the existing literature. The present results, however, indicate that satisfaction’s contribution to the variation in talking about the encounter was modest.



Söderlund, M. and Mattsson, J. (2019), "Thinking about service encounters boosts talking about them", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 506-515.



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