The Way to Reconstructing Relationship: The Characteristics and Effects of Consumer Forgiveness in E-Commerce

Lee, H., Shih, C. F., and Huang, H. C. 2020. The Way to Reconstructing Relationship: The Characteristics and Effects of Consumer Forgiveness in E-Commerce. NTU Management Review, 30 (1): 201-234. doi:10.6226/NTUMR.202004_30(1).0007

Han Lee, Department of International Business, National Taiwan University
Chuan-Feng Shih, Department of International Business, National Taiwan University
Heng-Chiang Huang, Department of International Business, National Taiwan University

Abstract

Service recovery has gained increasing attention in the fields of service marketing. However, little prior research has attempted to explore service failure from a customer's psychological perspective. Therefore, this study incorporates "consumer forgiveness," an emerging concept in the service marketing field, in an online transaction setting. We explore the existence and significance of consumer forgiveness when service failures occur, examine whether consumer forgiveness is able to enhance people's willingness to maintain relationships with service providers, and identify key determinants of consumer forgiveness. A proposed structural equation model is tested using SmartPLS 3.0 program, with survey data from a convenience sample comprising of 308 subjects recruited from Taiwan's largest community websites and forums. Our results indicate that: (1) consumer forgiveness is influenced by the strength of the relationship (i.e., trust) between firms and customers, attributions and severity of service failure, and consumer empathy; and (2) outcome uncertainty and failure duration moderate the relationships between attributions, severity, empathy and consumer forgiveness. This study not only enhances the extant consumer forgiveness literature but also provides far-reaching marketing implications for service providers. 


Keywords

e-purchaseservice failureconsumer forgivenesstrustservice recovery


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