The role of surprise in satisfaction judgements

J. Vanhamme, H.M.J.J. Snelders

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    Empirical findings suggest that surprise plays an important role in consumer satisfaction, but there is a lack of theory to explain why this is so. The present paper provides explanations for the process through which positive (negative) surprise might enhance (reduce) consumer satisfaction. First, the arousal that is part of the surprise reaction can contaminate subsequent positive affective reactions or emotions about the product or service. Second, the surprise reaction allows for a strong focus on a single product or service aspect. This will create more accessible knowledge that may have a disproportionate effect on memory-based satisfaction judgements. In addition, several possible moderators of the surprise-satisfaction relationship are described. Finally, the managerial implications of the proposed processes and moderators are discussed
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)27-45
    JournalJournal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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