Edited by Jana Pelclová and Wei-lun Lu
[Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 79] 2018
► pp. 181–206
Chapter 8. Saving face online
Institutional responses to negative customer reviews on TripAdvisor
Working within an interactional-pragmatic framework, this chapter reports on a study of hoteliers’ responses to negative customer reviews on the TripAdvisor website, exploring the significance of facework and rapport management strategies as means of persuasion. Negative reviews represent face-threatening acts which endanger the business’s institutional face, while responses offer an opportunity for face-saving and rapport-building; to maximize persuasive effect, respondents must strike a balance between their own face needs and those of the complainant. The study also explores the extent to which respondents’ persuasive strategies reflect the presence of third parties (readers of the website), as the complaint-response sequence – formerly a private genre – is now increasingly enacted in the public domain.
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