Joking with customers in the service encounter has a negative impact on customer satisfaction: Replication and extension

Magnus Söderlund, Eeva-Liisa Oikarinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous research has indicated that employee joke-telling in the service encounter can have a negative impact on customer satisfaction, particularly with respect to perceived overall message relevance as a mediating variable. The present study is an attempt to examine if these results would be replicated in service encounter settings with other characteristics. Two experiments were conducted, and the previous pattern was reproduced: customer satisfaction was reducedwhen employees told jokes compared to when jokes were not told. The results also indicate that employee joke-telling reduced both perceived relevance and positive affect, and that these two variables mediated the association between employee joke-telling and customer satisfaction. The results should be seen in contrast to several humor studies in an advertising context showing that humor-comprising ads can have positive effects on the receiver. One main reason for the differences is that a service encounter typically includes also other elements than humor in the employee's communication with a customer, and that employee humor usage attenuates the customer's attention to and comprehension of those other elements.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Volume42
Issue numberMay
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
ISSN0969-6989
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 06.02.2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 512 Business and Management

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