An exploration into user-generated content, service failure recovery and customer–brand relationships: a commitment-trust theory perspective
User-generated content (UGC) and service failure have attracted considerable marketing inquiry over the last two decades. Previous studies primarily focused on the outcome of service failure and the impact of UGC on perceived failure severity. We depart from previous studies by examining the moderating role of UGC on the relationship between service failure recovery (SFR) and customer–brand relationship. Building on commitment-trust theory and from a phenomenological hermeneutical perspective, we explore this phenomenon through the interpretation of 60 in-depth interviews with millennials from three European countries: Italy, France and the UK. An analysis of the data was conducted using a qualitative approach to understand the main constructs and relationships derived from the data. This study conceptualises four distinct moderating characteristics of UGC in the SFR process: satisfied with experience and brand, dissatisfied with experience and brand, satisfied with brand and dissatisfied with brand. The insights from our RECB framework contribute to research on UGC and shed light on the relationship between SFR and consumer–brand relationships in the fashion industry. Overall, this study demonstrates that customer interactions with UGC significantly affect their responses to, and relationships with, a brand. The proposed framework opens up interesting avenues for future research on the moderating role of UGC on the relationship between SFR and customer–brand relationships.