Organizational responses to incidents in an online contextProject
Word-of-mouth communication (WOM), either positive (PWOM) or negative (NWOM), is known to be one of the most important drivers of consumer decision-making and organizational outcomes such as reputation and sales.
The emergence of web 2.0 has dramatically extended the reach of consumer voice, as consumers can now share information and opinions with more others more easily than ever before. Although (online) WOM has become a popular topic among scientist and practitioners alike, there are several important research gaps that we aim to address. These include (1) the effectiveness of organizational responses to consumer-initiated online PWOM, (2) the effectiveness of online crisis response strategies in reducing volume and increasing valence of online WOM, (3) choice of communication channel of organizational responses to online WOM, and (4) timing of organizational responses to online WOM. Addressing these research gaps is very relevant for organizations because it provides guidelines for marketers in answering four critical questions during planning, structuring, and giving direction to their webcare efforts: who to respond to in the case of a critical incident (gap 1), how to respond (gap 2), where to respond (gap 3), and when to respond (gap 4).