Are cynical customers satisfied differently? Role of negative inferred motive and customer participation in service recovery


This study examines the role of consumer cynicism in service recovery, specifically the process through which cynicism influences customer satisfaction. This study also investigates the role of customer participation in the recovery process when alleviating outcomes among cynical customers. Across one pilot study and two experiments, we demonstrate that cynicism negatively moderates the effects of perceived justice on satisfaction. Additionally, we demonstrate the mediating role of negative inferred motive in the relationship between perceived justice and customer satisfaction. Highly cynical customers were found to less favorably evaluate customer satisfaction than less cynical customers, as they infer recovery efforts to be motivated by firms’ self-interest rather than customers’ interest. We also demonstrate that increasing customer participation in service recovery through joint recovery can overcome adverse outcomes and increase customer satisfaction among highly cynical customers. These findings offer important insights for service managers in designing effective service recovery strategies for cynical customers.

Publication Title

Journal of Business Research