Apologizing on Demand : A Field Experiment on the effects of apology on future demand
Last registered on September 12, 2017


Trial Information
General Information
Apologizing on Demand : A Field Experiment on the effects of apology on future demand
Initial registration date
July 19, 2017
Last updated
September 12, 2017 12:34 PM EDT

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Primary Investigator
Vassar College
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Apologies are a key customer service tool for managing customer relationships. We run a field experiment with a retail technology company where customers who have a bad experience are offered an email apology and monetary compensation. We vary the wording of the apology and the size of compensation in order to test predictions of the apology model from Ho (2012). In particular, we are looking for the impact of an apology on the shape of future demand. Specifically, we want to know how apologies affect customer response to future price increases and decreases and to future bad experiences.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Ho, Benjamin. 2017. "Apologizing on Demand : A Field Experiment on the effects of apology on future demand." AEA RCT Registry. September 12. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2342/history/21341
Experimental Details
The Intervention consists of identifying customers who have had a bad experience. After the bad experience, customers in the treatment group will receive an email an apology whose wording reflects either a generic apology, a reputation based apology, or a promise based apology (Ho, 2012). Each treatment group will be offered either $0 or $5 as compensation.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary outcomes are estimates of future demand as a function of the apology treatment (e.g. responsiveness of demand to future price changes, future circumstances, and future bad experiences as well the level of future demand).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Customers who have a bad experience are randomized into one of the three apology conditions (generic apology, reputational apology, promise apology), and one of the two compensation conditions plus a no apology control. Within each of the apology conditions, subjects are randomized between receive $0 in compensation and $5 in compensation.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization by computer
Randomization Unit
Randomized at the individual level
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1.6 million individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
1.6 million
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
200,000 per treatment arm (3 types of apologies + 1 non apology X $0 or $5 compensation)

balanced for
• Product usage in the previous month
• Lifetime product usage
• Product usage composition
• Tenure on platform
• Frequency of bad experiences in the past month
• Tickets opened
• Average past price
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Vassar College Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number