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Beyond Just Being Dissatisfied: How Angry and Helpless Customers React to Failures When Using Self-Service Technologies


  • Katja Gelbrich


Failures in the use of self-service technology are not only a source of dissatisfaction; often, they also trigger negative emotions of anger and helplessness. Drawing on the appraisal theories of emotion, I argue that these emotions have distinct effects on customers’ post-purchase reactions (customer loyalty, frequency of use), both directly and indirectly, by reducing customer satisfaction. I test and largely confirm these assumptions in an experimental study with 138 undergraduate students and in a representative field survey with 375 mobile phone users. My results indicate that technology-based ser-vice providers should provide instrumental support for customers who feel helpless and a combination of instrumental and emotional support for customers who are angry.

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  • Katja Gelbrich, 2009. "Beyond Just Being Dissatisfied: How Angry and Helpless Customers React to Failures When Using Self-Service Technologies," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 61(1), pages 40-59, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sbr:abstra:v:61:y:2009:i:1:p:40-59

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    More about this item


    Anger; Customer reactions; Helplessness; Self-Service Technologies; Service failure;

    JEL classification:

    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing


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