"I'm mad and I can't get that service failure off my mind": Coping and rumination as mediators of anger effects on customer intentions

Yuliya Strizhakova, Yelena Tsarenko, Julie A Ruth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Although anger elicited in service failures harms providers, little is known about the ways customers deal with anger. Building upon stress-and-coping theory, we propose a theoretical framework that examines customer coping strategies - expressive, active, and denial - and rumination about the incident as mediators of anger on customer intentions. Across two studies and in more and less conventional service channels, rumination decreases positive behavioral intentions and increases negative word-of-mouth intentions. Customer coping strategies mediate effects of anger on rumination. Specifically, while expressive coping mediates effects of anger on rumination, active coping mediates these effects in more conventional service channels, whereas denial mediates these effects in less conventional channels. Customer tendency to ruminate moderates effects in less conventional channels. Because customers have and use a repertoire of coping strategies that differentially affect rumination and customer intentions, strategies designed to guide customers toward active coping and mitigate rumination should be the cornerstone of service recovery. If and when service failures occur, managers should encourage customers active coping to resolve the problem; otherwise, customers may cope by expressing their negative emotions to others or deny the episode, both of which increase customer rumination and detrimental outcomes for the firm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414 - 429
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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