Dynamics of user-generated content and service failure recovery: evidence from millennials

Ozuem, Wilson, Willis, Michelle, Ranfagni, Silvia, Howell, Kerry and Rovai, Serena (2023) Dynamics of user-generated content and service failure recovery: evidence from millennials. Qualitative Market Research, 26 (5). pp. 600-631. ISSN 1352-2752


There is considerable interest in the value of user-generated content (UGC) and its antecedents. Despite its growing importance, existing studies have largely ignored the effects of UGC on customers’ responses to recovery efforts in the fashion industry. The aim of this paper is to examine the extent to which UGC influences customers’ responses to providers’ service failure and recovery efforts, particularly how millennials’ interactions impact recovery efforts.

The study uses a phenomenological hermeneutics and adopts theoretical sampling to collect empirical data from three European countries (France, Italy and the UK). We interviewed 60 millennials who had online service failure experiences in online fashion. It has designed this methodological framework to illustrate the close relationships between subject and object as well as identify that data analysis and collection are undertaken in relation to consistent iterative interpretations in an evolving process of study. Drawing on multi-theoretical lenses, utilising actor–network and social influence theories, this study advances understanding through the development of a new conceptual model relating to individual characteristics.

Utilising actor–network theory and social influence theory, this study developed a conceptual model of four customer groups’ responses to service failure based on the severity of service failure and the level of customers’ online response following service failure.

We suggest some pragmatic implications of our conceptual model and explain how awareness of different customer groups can lead to effective decision making for marketers. This study provides a set of practical insights that brand managers can employ to recover service failures.

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