Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wharton: Bad WOM Gets Badder over Time

I just found this. A Wharton studyfound the obvious: Negative WOM is bad, bad, bad. Bad stories carry far more weight than good stories when it comes to products and services.

But here's the interesting twist. As bad WOM stories get repeated, they get embellished. That is, the clerks get ruder, the line gets longer, the Muzak gets more annoying, each time the story is repeated. I have no idea how they quantified this, but by the time the story is repeated a few times, the negative effect is actually 5x the original damage.

This is the heart of the JarvisDell Syndrome. I, honestly, can not recall the actual details of blogger Jeff Jarvis' complaints about Dell. But I can tell that the problem was big, the company unresponsive and the experience totally frustrating. That's the ripple effects of negative WOM.
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