טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentSpivak David
SubjectThe Effect of Emotion Exchanges on Customer Satisfaction
in Online Text-Based Customer Service
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Anat Rafaeli


Abstract

Emotion exchanges between customers and employees are part and parcel of customer service, but research is yet to fully understand their effects on customer satisfaction. Online social media websites (e.g., Twitter), serve as conversational platforms where customers can publicly interact with an organization’s service employees, providing fertile ground for unobtrusively observing customer-employee emotion dynamics. We examine how these dynamics shape customer satisfaction in two studies. In an initial exploratory study, we identified two types of emotions customers express in Twitter-based service interactions: Positive (happiness and gratitude) and negative (frustration, anger, and disappointment) emotions, and two types of emotional tactics employees use in response: Expressing positivity (being cheerful and expressing gratitude) and expressing support (showing empathy and apologizing). Results of a follow-up theory-driven study show employees’ positivity expressions were positively related to customer satisfaction, but not when customers expressed highly positive emotions to begin with (i.e., at the beginning of the service encounter). No evidence of a benefit to employees’ expressions of support was found. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for research on emotional labor (displaying specific emotions as part of the work role). Managerial applications for customer service through public online platforms such as Twitter are suggested.