University of Illinois at Chicago

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Essays on Social Media-Based Customer Service

posted on 2022-08-01, 00:00 authored by Ramah Al Balawi
Providing good customer service that maintains customer relationships has always been a valuable and important aspect of a firm’s marketing strategy. Through effective implementations of customer complaint management strategies that address customers’ requests and complaints, firms can enhance brand image, maintain customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, increase a firm’s economic performance. With the advances in mobile technologies and the internet, social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, emerged as new channels for customer service and relationship marketing offering a transparent and convenient method for customers to engage and interact with firms, as well as view firm responses to customers’ complaints. This public and open communication brings both opportunities and challenges for firms delivering customer service on social media. Therefore, one of the biggest challenges for firms is to identify opportunities while avoiding risks. In this dissertation, I examine how events or changes that are external to firms could influence their social media-based customer service efforts. Exogenous or external shocks can have a profound effect on how firms manage customer complaints and requests on social media. Building on the literature on organizational responses to service requests and customers’ evaluations of perceived justice, I empirically investigate the impact of a brand crisis on social media customer relationship management (social CRM) efforts by examining how a brand crisis affects three dimensions of social CRM efforts: informativeness, timeliness, and attentiveness. I then extend this study to further examine how the changes in the social CRM efforts mediate the negative impact of the brand crisis on customer satisfaction. Furthermore, and building on psychology-based linguistic theories, I examine the effect of the unexpected change to Twitter’s post character limit, a platform design feature, on social media-based customer service. Extending post character limits may instigate changes to the linguistic styles of firm responses on social media platforms to influence consumers’ perceptions. In addition, I examine the effectiveness of the linguistic style changes on customer satisfaction. This research contributes to our understanding of the unique nature of social media platforms and the dynamics of customer service delivered on these platforms. The results provide useful insights for practitioners and social media managers.



Hu, Yuheng


Hu, Yuheng


Information and Decision Sciences

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Degree name

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Member

Bhattacharyya, Siddhartha Lu, Yingda Qiu, Liangfei Tafti, Ali

Submitted date

August 2022

Thesis type



  • en

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