The Impact of Accent Stereotypes on Service Outcomes and Its Boundary Conditions

Ze Wang, University of Kansas, USA
Aaron Arndt, Old Dominion Unversity, USA
Surendra Singh, University of Kansas, USA
Monica Biernat, University of Kansas, USA
This article demonstrates that accent stereotypes can positively or negatively bias customers’ evaluation and interpretation of their service experience. In particular, we examine customer service at call centers where audio is the only medium for interpersonal interactions between customers and employees. In this context, we document that, given identical service scenarios, Indian accent leads to less favorable service outcomes compared to American and British accents. This bias may be exaggerated when the service fails. We further show that this accent stereotypical effect is moderated by the informational context at the service. If customers are informed of industrial norm, the accent stereotypical effect decreases.
[ to cite ]:
Ze Wang, Aaron Arndt, Surendra Singh, and Monica Biernat (2009) ,"The Impact of Accent Stereotypes on Service Outcomes and Its Boundary Conditions", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 940-941.