University of Oulu

Magnus Söderlund, Eeva-Liisa Oikarinen & Eija-Liisa Heikka (2017) Jokes in the store and its effects on customer satisfaction, The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 27:3, 260-283, DOI: 10.1080/09593969.2017.1314862

Jokes in the store and its effects on customer satisfaction

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Author: Söderlund, Magnus1; Oikarinen, Eeva-Liisa2; Heikka, Eija-Liisa2
Organizations: 1Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden
2Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-06-29


This study assesses the impact of employee use of jokes embedded in face-to-face conversations with customers. Our main finding — derived from experiments in which employee use of jokes was manipulated — was that jokes reduced customer satisfaction. This reduction occurred regardless if jokes were related or unrelated to the employee’s overall message. Our results also indicate that the use of jokes had a negative impact on perceived message relevance, and that perceived relevance mediated the link between employee use of jokes and customer satisfaction. In addition, our results show that no joke usage vs. joke usage did not produce different emotional responses. This suggests that the impact of jokes on affect is attenuated when jokes are embedded in conversational content.

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Series: International review of retail, distribution and consumer research
ISSN: 0959-3969
ISSN-E: 1466-4402
ISSN-L: 0959-3969
Volume: 27
Issue: 3
Pages: 260 - 283
DOI: 10.1080/09593969.2017.1314862
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
511 Economics
Copyright information: © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research on 09 May 2017, available online: