Affective Consumer Responses in Service Encounters: The Emotional Content in Narratives of Critical Indicents

W.M. van Dolen*, J.G.A.M. Lemmink, J. Mattsson, I.T.P. Rhoen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This research explores the effect of emotion on satisfaction with after sales services. Emotional content is derived from the respondent's answers to the so-called critical incident question in order to classify the information according to established categories and the object responsible for evoking the emotional response. The emotional content is classified according to three levels of inclusiveness; the superordinate, the basic and the subordinate level. We found that the subordinate level is responsible for explaining most of the service satisfaction. Positive emotions like positive surprise, pleasure and contentment contribute positively to satisfaction, while negative emotions, such as irritation and disappointment have a negative influence. Furthermore, more intense emotions have a greater impact on customer satisfaction than less intense emotions. Irritation, especially, has an extraordinarily negative impact on customer satisfaction. The positive emotion categories contribute almost equally to satisfaction. While the service employee is mostly the object of positive emotions in the critical incidents, the product, albeit less often the object of emotion, mostly evokes negative emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-376
JournalJournal of Economic Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


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