Service brand rehab: diagnosing trust repair mechanisms

Elvira Bolat, Julie Robson, Jason Sit, Shannon Birch-Chapman, Samreen Ashraf, Juliet Memery, Caroline Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose - This paper aims to understand consumers’ response to the trust repair mechanisms adopted by corporate brands in a service sector context following prominent trust damaging organizational transgressions.

Design/methodology/approach - Adopting a qualitative approach, six focus group discussions are employed to investigate three high profile consumer trust erosion cases within the service sector.

Findings - Consumer trust varies by context. Despite the severity of trust damage, corporate brands can recover trust towards their brands amongst consumers not directly affected by transgressions. Not all trust repair mechanisms are equally applicable to all service contexts and re-branding could be used as a trust repair mechanism. Corporate brands in the service sector should focus on sense-making, relational approaches and transparency. Orchestration of trust repair mechanisms needs to be integrated within the trust rehabilitation processes.

Research limitations/implications - This study illustrates it is important to reconsider trust repair processes to accommodate context and integrate post-transgression consumer research.

Practical implications - Successful corporate brand rehabilitation of consumer trust requires examination of the trustworthiness dimensions consumers express before and after the transgression to select the most appropriate trust repair mechanisms. Findings suggest organizations also have preventative trust repair management programs.

Originality/value - This research is the first to empirically apply the conceptual framework of Bachmann et al. (2015) to explore consumer responses to the trust repair mechanisms adopted by corporate brands by context.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalQualitative Market Research
Early online date20 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 20 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • trust repair
  • trust erosion
  • service brands
  • focus group
  • template analysis

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