Do you respond sincerely? How sellers' responses to online reviews affect customer relationship and repurchase intention

Xiaofei Li, Baolong Ma, Rubing Bai
2020 Frontiers of Business Research in China  
For many online businesses, online reviews are crucially important to managing reputation, word-of-mouth sales, and, ultimately, their survival. Hence, more and more online business owners are posting public responses to both positive and negative reviews. But do these responses change anything? And, if so, which types of responses are the most effective for strengthening customer relationship and increasing the chances of repeat business? With two surveys and a series of partial least
more » ... tructural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) analyses, we tested three relevant hypotheses to answer these questions. The results show that when business replies to online reviews with promotional information, consumers perceive the seller to be self-interested, and both relationship quality and repurchase intention decrease. However, sincere responses that do not contain promotional information, such as gratitude and apology, are highly correlated to positive relationship quality and the likelihood of future repeat business. These findings enrich the academic literature on online reviews, and the recommendations stemming from our results should be of interest to any business that relies on their online reputation for survival. Publisher's Note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
doi:10.1186/s11782-020-00086-2 fatcat:wrsvu7q5gje4zdrmyxgsgxg5uu