The influence of angry customer outbursts on service providers’ facial displays and affective states
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This paper explores the existence and extent of emotional contagion, as measured by facial displays and reported affective states, in a service failure event. Using video vignettes of customers complaining about a service failure as stimulus material, the facial displays and affective states of service providers were measured, as proxies for emotional contagion. Following a two-step approach, service providers' facial expressions were first recorded and assessed, revealing that service providers' facial displays matched those of the angry consumer. Second, a mixed ANOVA revealed service providers reported stronger negative affective states after exposure to an angry complaint than prior to exposure. The results demonstrated that during a complaint situation, angry outbursts by consumers can initiate the emotional contagion process, and service providers are susceptible to "catch" consumer anger through emotional contagion. Implications for complaint management and future research are discussed.
Journal of Service Research
Copyright 2007 SAGE Publications. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.