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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Thum, Ph.D., CCXP

Customers Suck Sometimes, They Hate Your Brand, and Employees Get Burned Out: New Academic Reads

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

You probably had your suspicions about this, right? Turns out you were spot on.

Customers do suck sometimes. They can hate your brand. Employees can get burned out and lose faith in your brand. Understanding why from a scientific perspective is a solid step toward getting in front of the problems and figuring out what to do.

Here are five scholarly studies on these topics from around the globe from recent months. See if you think they might be worth putting into your reading cue.

On Brand Hate and Customer Narcissism

Sometimes things go wrong with customers’ experiences. Price unfairness, inconveniences, and snarky customer service reps can do more than just cause the customer to feel dissatisfied. Negative experiences can lead to “brand hate,” depending on the customer’s level of personal narcissism. The authors present their research findings and encourage managers to prepare their teams for these customers. (Free.)

Source: Pakistan Journal of Commerce and Social Sciences, Volume 14, No. 3, September 2020.

Customer Narcissism and Revenge

In this study, researchers found that customers’ personal levels of narcissism and their social media participation and presence increased their intentions and desire to enact revenge on a brand after a bad experience. This article is a good companion read to another study I recently recommended on customer disvalue. (Free.)

Source: Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 104, March 2020.

Customer Incivility and Angel Bosses

Customers’ incivility can cause frontline employees to burn out and lose faith in your brand. Managers and coworkers who act as an “angel” in support of frontline workers can alleviate the stress of uncivil customers and promote employee retention. On the other hand, acting as an angel to customers rather than to frontline staff adds pressure to staff. (Paywall.)

Source: International Journal of Hospitality Management, Volume 83, October 2019.

Annoying Self-Promotion and Customer Reviews

This study found that customers don’t appreciate it when you respond to their online reviews with a shameless plug for your next sale. To them, it comes across as shameless self-promotion rather than helpful. This study found that when that happens, relationship quality and repurchase intentions decrease. How should you respond so that customers feel valued and ready to buy again? (Free.)

Source: Frontiers in Business Research in China, Volume 14, No. 1, December 2020.

Virtual Team Perceptions and Reality

Burnout isn’t just a phenomenon for in-person sales and customer service teams. It’s a thing for virtual teams, too. Misalignments in communication between leaders and employees can get you way off course. This study found that leaders need to use great tools and simple, practical, realistic language with their virtual teams to avoid being misinterpreted. (Free.)

Source: International Journal of Business Communication, Volume 57, No. 4, October 2020.

What are some of the most helpful academic resources you have written, contributed to, or found helpful recently? Feel free to comment.

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