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Dissatisfied and complaining consumers: A study of the importance of information, expectations and retail complaints
University of Borås, School of Business and IT.
University of Borås, School of Business and IT.
University of Borås, School of Business and IT.
University of Borås, School of Business and IT.
2010 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Traditionally, complaining customers have been considered a problem by the retail industry, but this changed due to the shift towards service quality and customer satisfaction that took place in the late eighties (e.g. Parasuraman, Berry and Zeithaml, 1988, Cronin and Taylor, 1992). Complaints from customers are valuable since they can give companies a second chance to solve problems and recover from service failure in order to delight the customer (Bitner, Brown and Meuter, 2000). The salespersons influence on consumers complaint responses have been studied by several (e.g. Clopton, Stoddard and Clay, 2001) and few would argue against the frontline personnel’s’ key role in satisfying the customers. For retail companies, the frontline personnel are the gatekeeper and central in providing good service since they often are the primary point of contact before, during and, after a purchase (Chung-Herrera et al., 2004). Frontline personnel have the opportunity to informe the customer about the product, answer questions and give advice in specific situations. In many cases the customers are dependent upon the skills and knowledge provided by the employees as well as they are dependent on their own capacity to ask the right questions. In a perfect world, a customer that can articulate his or hers need and expectations of a product, gather relevant information by asking the store personnel and trust the knowledge provided, should be a satisfied customer. Still there are signs that consumers are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their purchases as well as with the service they receive in relation to the purchase. Also, few complaining customers are happy with companies’ complaint handling efforts (e.g. Andreassen, 2001). This paper reports a study that examines consumer complaint behaviour and consumer pre-purchase behaviour. The data was collected by means of structured questionnaires administered with the help of a web panel. In total the data consists of 1990 respondents and the demographic of the respondents being representative for Swedish consumers above age 18. Analysis of the survey data shows three findings of particular interest for the retail industry. First, the amount of pre-purchase information obtained by the consumer does not correlate with the consumers’ post purchase satisfaction. Respondents that have searched information from several different sources before buying did not complaint less than those who had not searched at all. Second, consumers who received product information mainly from the store (either through staff or website) were more inclined to complain than those who had got information from additional, or other, sources such as family or friends. Third, complaining consumers are dissatisfied with how their complaints are dealt with by the store representative. In this paper, we will examine the results and further explore customer complaints behaviour in stores.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-6450Local ID: 2320/7193OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-6450DiVA: diva2:887146
Conference
2nd Nordic Retail and Wholesale Conference 2010, Göteborg, Sverige
Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22 Last updated: 2016-12-01Bibliographically approved

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Gustafsson, EvaHjelmgren, DanielSalomonson, NicklasSundström, Malin
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Citation style
  • apa
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