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2 UNIVERSITY of LA VERNE LA VERNE, CALIFORNIA Stephen A. Goodwin Conference Chair Illinois State University Kevin G. Celuch Conference Co-Chair University of Southern Indiana Steven A. Taylor Conference Co-Chair Illinois State University

Hosted by the College of Business and Public Management at The University of La Verne Conference Coordinator Janis Dietz, University of La Verne Sponsored by the College of Business and Department of Marketing at Illinois State University

the College of Business and Department of Marketing at the University of Southern Indiana Papers and Abstracts included in these Proceedings were subjected to doubleblind, peer reviews. The order of the papers is identical to the order displayed in the Program Summary which begins on the next page.
The 2012 CS/D&CB Proceedings are Copyrighted by CS/D&CB, Inc. and the Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior.

CS/D&CB, Inc. All rights reserved. 1

Program Summary

Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior Conference

June 20 - 24, 2012
Hosted by

Abe Helou, Dean and Rita Thakur, Associate Dean The College of Business and Public Management The University of La Verne La Verne, California
Sponsored by

The College of Business and Department of Marketing Illinois State University


The College of Business and Department of Marketing University of Southern Indiana Conference Chair Stephen Goodwin, Illinois State University Special Thanks To
Devorah A. Lieberman, President, University of La Verne Abe Helou, Dean, College of Business and Public Management, University of La Verne Kevin Celuch, Conference Co-Chair, University of Southern Indiana H. Keith Hunt, Brigham Young University Emeritus Scott Johnson, Dean, College of Business, Illinois State University Chick Kasouf, Associate Professor of Marketing, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Mohammed Khayum, Dean, College of Business, University of Southern Indiana Timothy Longfellow, Chair, Department of Marketing, Illinois State University Steven Taylor, Conference Co-Chair, Illinois State University

Extra Special Thank You To

Janis Dietz, Professor of Business Administration College of Business and Public Management, University of La Verne

Conference Coordinator


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

5:00 p.m. Pick up your Registration Packets in the lobby of the Doubletree Hotel in Claremont, California. 6:30 p.m. Meet at Buca di Beppo restaurant (adjacent to the Doubletree Hotel) for dinner. Join us if your schedule permits!
If you are unable to pick up your packet (the program, your name tag, the Conference Proceedings, etc.) it will be available each day at The University of La Verne [Campus Center A] where our paper presentations will take place.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

6:30 7:45 a.m. Breakfast (on your own). There is a breakfast option available at the conference hotel (the Doubletree in Claremont, California). Transportation from the Doubletree Hotel to the Campus Center A @ The University of La Verne will be provided. Departure time is set for 7:55 a.m. 8:30 a.m.

WELCOME <Campus Center A, University of La Verne>

Stephen Goodwin, Conference Chair and Editor, Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, and Emeritus Professor of Marketing, Illinois State University

8:40 a.m.


THE ROLE OF RETAIL EMPLOYEE BEHAVIOR, SOCIAL BENEFITS, AND COMMITMENT IN CUSTOMER FEEDBACK Kevin G. Celuch, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN Nadine M. Robinson, Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada Anna M. Walz, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI

9:30 a.m.

WELCOMING REMARKS Devorah A. Lieberman, President, University of La Verne

9:40 a.m.

BUSINESSES USE IT: SHOULD UNIVERSITIES USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO MONITOR AND HANDLE STUDENTS COMPLAINTS? Sue Caple, University of La Verne, La Verne, CA Carlos Cervantes, University of La Verne, La Verne, CA Janis Dietz, University of La Verne, La Verne, CA

10:15 a.m.

BREAK Todays Break food and beverages and Lunch are provided by a generous grant from Dr. Chick Kasouf, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Water and Soda will be provided throughout the day; Coffee in the AM only.

10:25 a.m.


11:10 a.m.


LUNCH BREAK (Box lunch <sandwich, fruit, and beverage> will be provided) DIFFERENT PATHWAYS TO WINNING BACK LOST CUSTOMERS: A CROSS-NATIONAL STUDY

1:00 p.m.

Annie H. Liu, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand Sijun Wang, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA Mark Leach, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA

1:50 p.m. FINE TUNING THE MARKETING STRATEGY: HOW CONSUMER EVALUATIONS OF THE HIGH-TECH, INNOVATIVE, AND COMPLEX DIMENSIONS OF PRODUCTS AFFECT DIFFERENT ATTITUDINAL COMPONENTS Anurag Pant, Indiana University South Bend Sanjay Mishra, University of Kansas 2:30 p.m. BREAK Water, Soda and Cookies will be provided this afternoon. SERVICE PERFORMANCE DIMENSIONS AND THEIR IMPACT ON CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND REPURCHASE INTENTIONS: A JAPANESE B-TO-B SERVICES STUDY M. Sajid Khan, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates Earl Naumann, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates Paul Williams, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates SATISFACTION WITH CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY EFFORTS IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY: CHIPOLTE, CLIF BAR, MCDONALDS AND YALE UNIVERSITY Marianne Bickle, University of South Carolina

2:45 p.m.

3:30 p.m.

4:15 p.m.


6:00 p.m.


7:30 - 7:45 p.m.

Transportation from the picnic/cookout back to the Doubletree Hotel in Claremont will be provided.


Friday, June 22, 2012

6:30 7:45 a.m. Breakfast (on your own). There is a breakfast option available at the conference hotel (the Doubletree in Claremont, California). Transportation from the Doubletree Hotel to the Campus Center A @ The University of La Verne will be provided. Departure time is set for 7:55 a.m. 8:30 a.m.

WELCOME <Campus Center A, University of La Verne>

Kevin Celuch, Conference Co-Chair and Associate Editor, Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, Blair Chair and Professor of Marketing, University of Southern Indiana

8:40 a.m.


Kendra L. Harris, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC Lionel Thomas, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC Jacqueline Williams, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC MEASURING DISCONFIRMATION IN SATISFACTION RESEARCH: CONSIDERING A LATENT VARIABLE APPROACH Steven A. Taylor, Hinderliter Chair, Illinois State University, Normal, IL Chiharu Ishida, Illinois State University, Normal, IL Jamie R. Mulligan, Illinois State University, Normal, IL Myoung Jin Kim, Illinois State University, Normal, IL

9:25 a.m.

10:10 a.m.



10:25 a.m.

Tapan K. Panda, Great Lakes Institute of Management Studies, Chennai, India


11:15 a.m.



LUNCH BREAK (Box lunch <sandwich, fruit, and beverage> will be provided) CUSTOMER LOYALTY, REPURCHASE AND SATISFACTION: A META-ANALYTICAL REVIEW Tamilla Curtis, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Russell Abratt, Nova Southeastern University Dawna Rhoades, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Paul Dion, Susquehanna University

1:10 p.m.

1:55 p.m.


Richa Agrawal, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Guindy, Chennai, India R. Keerthi, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Guindy, Chennai, India

2:45 p.m.

BREAK Water, Soda and Cookies will be provided this afternoon.

3:00 p.m.



4:30 p.m.

Transportation from the University of La Verne to the Doubletree Hotel in Claremont will be provided. DEPART FOR THE BASEBALL GAME IN ANAHEIM, CA For those who have signed up, meet in the lobby of the Doubletree. Transportation to and back from the game will be provided. Game time is 7:05 p.m. For those who have not signed up to attend the game, you are on your own tonight.

5:30 p.m.


6:30 7:45 a.m. Breakfast (on your own). There is a breakfast option available at the conference hotel (the Doubletree in Claremont, California). Transportation from the Doubletree Hotel to the Campus Center A @ The University of La Verne will be provided. Departure time is set for 7:55 a.m. 8:30 a.m.

WELCOME <Campus Center A, University of La Verne>

Steven Taylor, Conference Co-Chair and Associate Editor, Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, Hinderliter Chair and Professor of Marketing, Illinois State University

8:40 a.m.

DO CONSUMERS TRUST AND USE ONLINE PRODUCT RECOMMENDATION AGENTS? Pratibha A. Dabholkar, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN Xiaojing Sheng, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX

9:30 a.m.

LOOKING OVER OUR SHOULDER Debra S. Perkins, Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens, FL

9:35 a.m.

10:25 a.m.


Water and Soda will be provided throughout the day; Coffee in the AM only. PAYING HOMAGE TO KEITH HUNT Stephen Goodwin, Editor, JCS/D&CB 11:05 a.m. CS/D&CB: THE NEXT 25 YEARS Moshe Davidow, Carmel Academic Center, Haifa, Israel Noon LUNCH BREAK (Box lunch <sandwich, fruit, and beverage> will be provided) 1:10 p.m. SATISFACTION AND DISSATISFACTION WITH SLOTTING ALLOWANCES IN CHINA: PERSPECTIVES OF CHINESE MANAGERS OF A LARGE MANUFACTURER AND A LARGE RETAILER IN CHINA Erdener Kaynak, Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg Clement S.F. Chow, University of Macau, China Jason Z. Xie, Companhia de Telecomunicaoes de Macau, China 1:50 p.m. GIVE ME WHAT I WANT, CAUSE I WANT SATISFACTION: THE EFFECT OF PERSONALITY ON SOLICITED SATISFACTION Gillian S. Naylor, UNLV, Las Vegas, Nevada Nadia Pomirleanu, UNLV, Las Vegas, Nevada 2:30 p.m. 2:40 p.m. SPECIAL RECOGNITION BREAK Water, Soda and Cookies will be provided this afternoon. BEHAVIOR OF THE GIFT RECEIVER IN A COLLECTIVISTIC ENVIRONMENT: THE COMPLEX INTERTWINING AMONG USE OF THE GIFT, ITS DISPOSITION AND FEEDBACK TO THE GIVER

10:45 a.m.

3:00 p.m.

Jorge Cruz Crdenas, Universidad Tecnolgica Indoamrica, Quito Ecuador


3:55 p.m.


DIMENSIONS IN GHANAS MOBILE TELEPHONY INDUSTRY: IMPLICATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT AND POLICY Simon Gyasi Nimako, University of Education, Winneba, Ghana 4:30 p.m. Transportation from the University of La Verne to the Doubletree Hotel in Claremont will be provided. DEPART FOR THE CANDLELIGHT DINNER THEATER

6:00 p.m.

For those who have signed up for dinner and the musical Music Man, meet in the lobby of the Doubletree. The dinner theater is a short walk from the Doubletree Hotel. For those who have not signed up for the dinner theater, you are on your own tonight.


9:00 a.m.


< Join us for breakfast at the conference hotel (the Doubletree in Claremont, CA). CS/D&CB will pick up the tab!> During breakfast, we will review the 2012 conference, engage in some preliminary planning for the 2014 conference, and tackle other topics as they arise. 11:00 a.m. 1:00 p.m. The 2012 CS/D&CB Conference Ends Trip to Disneyland

For those who have signed up to experience Disney and who need transportation, the van will leave the Doubletree Hotel in Claremont at 1:00 p.m. and will return late evening.



Kevin Celuch, University of Southern Indiana Nadine M. Robinson, Athabasca University Anna M. Walz, Grand Valley State University ABSTRACT On the customer side, genuine engagement extends the boundary of the organizations culture to include the customer as a member who shares in both the commercial and psychological life of the organization. Understanding how to create engaged customers is needed for theory and research. (p. 10, Ostrom, et al., 2010) Customer engagement is conceived as all non-transactional customer behaviors that can affect a firm (Verhoef, Reinartz, & Krafft, 2010). Related literature on engagement often includes customer-to-customer behavior such as WOM and advocacy. In contrast to customer-tocustomer communication, the engagement literature devotes much less attention to customer-tobusiness communication such as customer feedback. Clearly, advocacy helps extend a firms promotional budget and is therefore an important non-transactional customer behavior to understand. However, a case can be made that customer feedback (both positive and negative) is no less important and may be more important given that feedback can provide insight into what a company is doing right and wrong in terms of any of the marketing mix Ps including people and processes (Robinson, 2011). Thus, feedback has the potential to extend or create future value for the receiving organization and its customers. Empirical work examining customer advocacy and feedback parallels the conceptual attention accorded to advocacy over feedback in that results of studies to date explain considerably more of the variance in advocacy rather than feedback (c.f., Walz & Celuch, 2010; Celuch, Robinson, & Walz, 2011). The present research addresses the above gaps in understanding antecedents of customer feedback through an examination and integration of literature related to customer orientation and engagement, employee engagement, loyalty, and commitment. We test hypotheses based on a model predicting that retail employee customer-oriented behavior will work through (be mediated by) customer social benefit perceptions to influence customer feedback. Further, social benefit perceptions will interact with (be moderated by) the level of customer commitment (fortitude) to impact feedback. Specifically, the impact of social benefits will be stronger when commitment to the retailer is higher.


Method This study employs a cross-sectional, single retailer approach (c.f., Garbarino and Johnson 1999; Jap and Ganesan 2000; Liu 2007). Even though the relationships are constrained to a single retailer, an acceptable amount of variance can be expected given that the retailer has multiple retail locations where customer experiences could differ. Measures: The questionnaire included measures of respondent perceptions related to the behavior of the employees of the retailer, their experience of social benefits from interacting with employees, their commitment to the retailer, their feedback behavior, and demographic descriptors. Sample and Procedure: Purposive sampling was used to assure variability and that the sample size was large enough to detect the effect of moderation. Store intercept surveys were conducted in five stores over a four-week period; customers of the coffee house were sampled to reach those at active stages of the relationship ranging from trial to loyalty. In addition, members of a community organization were also surveyed to expand the representativeness of consumers that held varying levels of relationships with the coffee house (through an email linked to an online survey). This procedure resulted in a total of 864 usable surveys for individuals identified as customers. The average age of the respondents was 32 (with a range of 18-76). Fifty-eight percent of the respondents were female. Thirty-five per cent of respondents had some college, and 34% held a bachelors degree. Managers/professionals and full-time students accounted for 34% and 42% of respondents, respectively. A majority of the sample (52%) had been a customer of the coffee house between one and five years. The average number of visits per month to the coffee house for a respondent was nine. Results The purpose of this study is to test for moderated mediation, that is, that the mediational effect of social benefits on customer feedback varies across levels of customer commitment. As a precursor to analyses, reliability, convergent and discriminant validity were assessed for all multi-item measures. All measures were above recommended thresholds for reliabilities. Results of analyses provided support for the convergent and discriminant validity of the construct measures. Hierarchical regression analysis, involving a series of models increasing in complexity, was used as a means of testing the hypothesized mediating and moderating relationships (Cohen and Cohen, 1983). Consistent with predictions, experiencing social benefits mediates the effect of customer-oriented employee behaviors on customers providing feedback. Further, customer commitment is found to interact with social benefits to moderate the relationship between social benefits and feedback. Specifically, when customer commitment is high, experiencing social benefits from interacting with employees has a strong positive effect on customers providing feedback to the retailer. In contrast, when customer commitment is low, experiencing social benefits from interacting with employees does not have a significant effect on customers

providing feedback to the retailer. Interestingly, not experiencing social benefits from interacting with employees when customer commitment is high does not result in significantly more feedback than when commitment is low. Discussion As noted earlier customer feedback is not well understood. Oliver (1999), in the context of more deeply understanding the dynamism of loyalty, posed questions as to the interactive effects of fortitude and community aspects of loyalty and the potential for managerial intervention. The present research takes a step in addressing these questions by exploring a transitioning mechanism (social benefits) that helps explain when commitment (fortitude) may extend to extra-role behavior (feedback). While more work in the area needs to be done, the present research explored customer-oriented employee behavior which is subject to managerial influence. Clearly, employee behavior is an important aspect of many retail contexts. Future research can build upon the present study to examine other managerially relevant constructs which might influence customer feedback. In conclusion, in the hierarchy of valued customer behavior, while satisfied and repeat customers are good and customers who promote and defend your brand may be better; customers who provide feedback to improve or create future value for the organization which bolsters its competitive advantage may be the best (Robinson, 2011). Selected References Celuch, K. G., N. M. Robinson, and A. M. Walz (2011), "In Search of the Gift of Feedback: The Moderating Role of Trust on Retailer-Customer Communication," American Marketing Association Educators' Proceedings, 22, 494-501. Oliver, R. L. (1999), Whence Consumer Loyalty? Journal of Marketing, 63, 33-44. Verhoef, P.C., W.J. Reinartz, and M. Krafft, (2010), Customer Engagement as a New perspective in Customer Management, Journal of Service Research, 13, 247-252. Robinson, N.M. (2011). Customer feedback: the missing link in understanding customer engagement to accelerate firm improvements and innovation?: A study of what makes customers more likely to provide feedback to a firm. Unpublished dissertation proposal. Walz, A. M. and K. Celuch (2010), The Effect of Retailer Communication on Customer Advocacy: The Moderating Role of Trust, Journal of Consumer Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, 23, 95-110.


Sue Caple Assistant Professor of Business Administration University of La Verne Carlos Cervantes Associate Dean for Academic Retention University of La Verne Janis Dietz Professor of Business Administration University of La Verne

ABSTRACT As the use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and others grows exponentially each year, the question of policies for handling customer complaints using social media in business, both in profit and non-profit companies, and in universities, is being addressed in various ways. This research discovered that universities, while aware of the importance of integrating their social media policies among departments, are still struggling to create those policies and to measure the response to them. Introduction A large body of research exists on handling customer complaints. Research indicates that results of a firm appropriately handling service failures include increased customer retention, reduction of negative word of mouth, and an improvement in revenue performance (Fornell & Wernerfelt,1987; Kelley, Hoffman, & Davis, 1993; Tax, Brown, & Chandrashekaran,1998). The link of effective communication and successfully responding to customer complaints has also been extensively researched (Ball, Coelho & Machs, 2004; Hirschman, 1970, Morris, 1988). Communication can consist of a variety of tools. Traditionally, written letter responses, telephone calls, or even face-to-face meetings have been common complaint-handling tools. However, a groundswell of smart mobile devices, YouTube, and social technologies such as Facebook and Twitter to elicit responses from many sources means that customers are empowered and exercise more control. This factor affects every business, wherever it is or whatever it is selling. Therefore, businesses have effectively integrated social media into their traditional methods of identifying and handling complaints. Likewise, educational research on college student retention and satisfaction has a long and rich history. Serious scholarship about college student retention and satisfaction began in the early 1970s with seminal works by Spady (1970), Tinto (1975), and Astin (1977), respectively. Colleges and universities that are serious about college student retention have used this and more recent literature (Kuh, Kinzie, Buckley, Bridges, & Hayes, 2006) to develop curricular and co14

curricular programs and activities aimed at retaining students. Students pre -enrollment and post-enrollment attitudes, expectations, and levels of satisfaction will determine how strong their sense of belonging is toward their chosen institutions (Tinto, 1993). Despite the growth of consumerism in education and market-driven approaches in student recruitment, traditional colleges and university might not have adapted to the challenges that come with treating students like consumers in handling their complaints through social media. How schools handle student complaints or grievances may impact how students will behave and perceive their sense of belonging at their chosen schools and ultimately, retention. The focus of this conceptual paper is on the emergence of social media, yielding a variety of new marketing and communication opportunities in complaint handling. Businesses have quickly embraced the need to be on social media to monitor and respond to complaints. However, there is a paucity of research on the role social media plays in college student communication concerning complaints. Universities and colleges are in the position of having to meet the challenges of communicating through the use of technology with new students every year plus maintain relationships, sometimes for decades, with alumni. Use of Social Media in Business Complaint Resolution A complaint (grievance) arises because of a failure to meet the expectations of the buyer, for whatever reason. Many academic sources and trade journals discuss the connection between satisfaction/dissatisfaction and the response from the provider. For example, Oliver (1996) discusses complaints as consumer responses to dissatisfaction and a complaint results when a consumer is in a deficit situation, caused by monetary outlays, frustration, stress, and loss of product function or service outcome. Stauss and Seidel (2004) discuss complaint stimulation rather than minimization because of research showing that a low number of dissatisfied customers actually complain. Stimulation encourages the expression of dissatisfaction rather than suppresses it and it is one mark of firms who take customer loyalty seriously. In academia, feedback rather than silence should, as it does in business, have the effect of promoting customer (student) equity. However, customers are increasingly frustrated with how much further they are away from resolving a problem via phone or internet. Add to that the increasingly fickle breed of customer (Tisch, 2007, p.15), the level of communication that satisfied customers expect is even greater than it was before all the roadblocks existed between customers and the people from whom they buy products and services. Therefore, companies have begun to monitor social media such as blogs and Facebook to determine customers complaints allowing them to proactively solve problems before they escalate. Some examples are: 1. AT&T is turning to social media for customer care after first using the medium for public relations and marketing (Patel, 2010, p.2). They have grown from five to nineteen people staffing their social-media customer-care corps. The team responds directly to customers on Twitter who engage @ATTCustomerCare as well as flagging its social-media customer care on its bills, website and other channels to let customers know they can turn to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with problems. They expect teams to save operational expenses and improve processes by using social media.

2. Best Buy has a Twelpforce (Twitter Help Force) comprised of 2,500 employees responding to customers questions by checking Twitter over 100 times a day (Bernoff & Schadler, 2010). Using this approach, Best Buy is able to have customers voice complaints directly to the company rather than have it spread through the social media, a negative aspect of technology for firms (Stone, 2011) 3. In a study to determine the link between customer care and brand reputation in the age of social media, Dell and Amazon were cited more often than any other companies as doing the best job at using social media to respond to customer care issues (Barnes, 2008). The research, which used a sample size of 320 demographically diverse active internet users, concluded that there is a growing group of 25-55 year-old college-educated consumers whose current and future use of services is affected by the level of response on social media. Tish (2007, p 75) posits, Never underestimate the power of information. Using the internet as the customers microphone by posting on the companys Facebook page or their Twitter feed is highly recommended by consumer journalists and is gaining acceptance by firms (Mangia, 2011). Mass Connectors, 6.2% of online adults, generate 80% of the 256 million impressions (Bernoff and Sadler, 2010, p.42). This follows the 80/20 rule in the same way that it would for universities, where 80% of chatter would come from 20% of the student or alumni body. While young adults are only 12 percent of the online population, they account for 39 percent of the influence impressions in social networks and 16 percent of the influence impressions posts on blogs, forums, and reviews (Ibid, p.51). The importance of handling student complaints As businesses have long known the importance of handling complaints, colleges and universities likewise are not immune to market influences and pressures from so-called student-consumers (Dominguez, 2009). The college admission game and the desire to attract high-achieving prospective students have promoted a consumer-centric mindset among prospective students who are faced with a wide variety of educational choices in the private and for-profit higher education sectors. Students tuition dollars (or their potential to receive financial aid) empower students to shop around and take their current (or potential) tuition dollars elsewhere if they feel their chosen schools are not meeting their educational or transactional needs or they are dissatisfied with the schools services. In 2010-2011, it was estimated that qualified students and families received $227 billion in financial aid in the form of grants, Federal Work-Study, federal tax credits and incentives, and federal loans; families accepted another $7.9 billion in state and private loans (College Board, 2011). The potential earnings and losses from tuition-driven aid are immense. The more dependent the school is on tuition the more devastating it is when students withdraw, drop-out, or transfer. As indicated above, retention and satisfaction has been researched extensively over time. Colleges and universities that are serious about college student retention have used this and more recent literature (Kuh, Kinzie, Buckley, Bridges, & Hayes, 2006) to develop curricular and co16

curricular programs and activities aimed at retaining students. Traditional colleges and universities are well aware that student satisfaction is an important motivational driver in shaping students decisions to persist from recruitment to admission to matriculation to graduation. Athiyaman (1997, p.531) argued that consumer satisfaction is a transaction-specific, short-term, overall attitude. If the student-consumer model is applied to higher education, students evaluation of classroom experiences and campus service outcomes will impact how satisfied or unsatisfied they are about their chosen school semester to semester and year-to-year. In essence, the student-consumer model suggests that students may not be wedded to the schools they are attending and schools that take this for granted might be underestimating whatever rapport or bond they think they have with their students. Institutional factors such as prestige, rank, campus culture, educational mission, tuition costs, library or recreational facilities, athletic reputation, the amount of financial aid, and the quality of services, to name a few, may affect students decisions to persist based on their level of satisfaction (Bean, 1980; Bean, 1983). Students weigh these institutional factors when choosing schools for admission against more personal factors such as educational aptitude, ability to pay, prestige, financial benefit, and career aspirations. When these external and internal factors are in alignment, then it is possible that students have found a good match in their chosen school and will attend and persist through graduation. In cases where students might be attending schools that are not their first-choice, their level of tolerance for less than satisfactory service or educational experiences might weigh more on their feelings of fit at the school relative to those who are attending their first-choice or dream school. When there is misalignment then students sense of belonging may influence decisions to stop-out, withdraw, or transfer (Cervantes, 2008). In essence, students punish their schools by stopping out or taking their tuition dollars elsewhere. The need to listen to and respond quickly to complaints and maintain a level of satisfaction among students is paramount. However, there is a gap between how universities handle complaints and how students communicate in the current technology-rich environment. The use of social media in handling student complaints It is not surprising that research indicates that college students are intensely involved with social media. Kaplan and Haenlein (2010, p. 61 ) define social media as a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content through computers and mobile devices. Social networking is used by students to learn, communicate about classroom activity, meet people, and even date. U.S. college students are among the most internet-dependent demographic groups with nearly 100 percent using the internet (Zou, 2011). The internet is a way of life for college students, as they represent one of the most connected demographic groups. Facebook is the most used social networking tool, with college students spending roughly 100 minutes per day on Facebook and, by 2008, 99 percent of students had Facebook accounts (Loveland, 2011). Although studies do not agree on the benefits of students using social media in connection with education, indications are that students will be increasing usage (ibid). The researchers observe that colleges and universities have a rich web presence and there is an abundance of college policies and procedures on how to handle and manage individual student complaints or grievances, such as legal violations of personal privacy, faculty-student disputes (personal or academic), battery or sexual assaults, and disciplinary or judicial appeals. Colleges

and universities are also heavily invested in using social media to engage prospective and current students to inform and disseminate information for marketing or notification purposes. Harvard, for example, has a social media group, specific social media business school professors, and has significant presence on social media networks for the University, alumni, and admissions (20 Colleges, 2011). Likewise, in January 2011, the Athletic Department at Ohio State exceeded the record for followings on Facebook in colleges, with over 700,000 "likes." Ohio State is also visible on Twitter, Delicious, Flickr, and YouTube accounts. Similar to Harvard, students have formed a social media organization where they can create social media for personal and professional use (20 Colleges, 2011).
However, it is less obvious that schools are using social media such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter to handle, monitor, capture and address general student complaints or grievances pertaining to campus-specific issues that have broad student appeal. Also notable is the absence of research pertaining to colleges and universities' use of social media in managing, collecting, surveying, or handling individual student complaints. This does not mean that colleges and universities are not aware of campus incidents involving students. Nor does it mean that colleges and universities do not handle or address student complaints or grievances. We contend that colleges and universities handling and management of individual complaints are limited to very specific outlets that are framed by the very policies that are in place to handle individual student complaints. For example, school or researcher-initiated data collection on student satisfaction follows a traditional track of sending out surveys to students or conducting interviews to assess programs or services. On occasion the results from surveys and/or interviews reach publication (Griffin, Green, and Jefcoat, 2010; Guzzio, 1996; Sanders and Burton, 1996); other times they serve to meet campus-level review or regional accreditation requirements. Other traditional methods of data collection might be to compel students to complete surveys by placing restrictions on course registration, enticing student participation with raffles and/or food, or simply park feedback or survey forms online for individuals who are motivated enough to file a grievance. These school-generated methods of data collection for student feedback and assessment of campus culture or student satisfaction fall outside of the use of social media as we define it here. Our University, for example, deals with student complaints through several venues: The student organization, the campus activities board, the university advancement office, the admissions office and even the office of the President. Facebook is used extensively, but more for outward communication than two-way feedback. Responsibilities for handling issues fall to committees and/or the president of the student senateboth students and administrators report that the issues are better handled in person or email rather than the use of Facebook or Twitter. According to the University Advancement office, Twitter is followed by the University President through the advancement office, but not commonly used in student activities.

Because college students are such heavy users of social networking, it would seem to follow that colleges, in addition to other activities being implemented, would make use of the technology to respond to student complaints. However, there is a gap in the literature concerning the use of social media in handling student complaints. This seems peculiar because communicating is identified as one of the most important factors in retaining customers after they complain and students communicate through social media (Ball, Coelho, & Machs, 2004; Hirschman, 1970, Morris, 1988). Schools might be losing out on opportunities to pre-empt issues that might lead to lowered student satisfaction or negative press coverage. Also, the use of social media in handling complaints is not a new idea, which would further highlight the gap in higher education literature. As mentioned, businesses have efficiently blended the use of technology with their traditional methods of handling complaints. The authors determined a need for exploratory research with college administrators and students

to determine if social media were used to handle complaints, and if that was something that was desirable by students. Exploratory Research An exploratory, multi-method study was implemented to investigate the concept of the use of social media in the university context. Purposeful sampling allowed the researchers to focus on a small sample size of students and even a smaller group of administrators. Specifically, surveys with students and in-depth interviews with university administrators were conducted to develop a conceptual model of the use of social media in handling student complaints. The approach used conforms with methods recommended for theory development by scholars (Creswell, 2003; Deshpande 1983; Peter & Olson 1983; Zaltman, LeMasters, & Heffring 1982). The purpose of the questions addressed to administrators was to determine if and how social media was used to handle students complaints. On the other hand, students were asked to describe their use of social media and how the university used social media to address their complaints. Administrator Interviews Three nationally recognized universities representing the East and West Coasts participated in the study. In-depth personal interviews comprised of open-ended questions were conducted with administrators. The administrators were selected from several areas because each of these areas could have an impact on and were involved with handling student complaints. The respondents held titles such as Dean of Students, Dean of Housing, Director of Public Relations, University Relations Associate, and Dean of Admissions. Administrators were interviewed about a broad range of complaint-handling issues, such as, parking, dining hall issues and funding for student activities. Student Surveys ObSurvey was used and was administered to the traditional undergraduate student population of 2,100 students at the authors University. A total of 98 students responded to the surveys over a span of 12 days. The respondents represented diversity in ethnicity and gender and ranged in age from 18-24. The questions are delineated in Appendix A. Results and Discussion Administrators responses For University A, there is currently no university-wide policy for responding to complaints via social media, and there is little sharing across departments of such information, although there are designated people responsible for monitoring the Universitys Facebook and Twitter. University B is in the process of developing university-wide policies to enable cross-department communication. They are engaging graduate interns for this purpose. University C has fairly good communication between various departments, but houses the social media tracking in marketing and communications. There is no policy, but there are general

guidelines for handling posts. The 12 departments review the comments and how they were addressed once a semester, which included comments posted on the blog sponsored by the school. They are beginning to analyze the results, and have a plan to fully investigate results in June. They also review sites outside the University to track who else is talking. They created a task force early on to manage this new medium as they feel it is their responsibility to respond in a timely manner to comments.

Table 1 compares policies between business and university complaint handling. Table 1 Social media policies across industries Business Students Corporate Policy Twelpforce 19 people 2200 17000 1600 No In process Guidelines Assigned responsibility Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Communication between departments Yes Yes No Yes Yes Measurement of outcome Use

Best Buy AT&T University A B C

Twitter,Facebook Twitter,Facebook No In process June 2012 Twitter,Facebook Twitter,Facebook, Foursquare Twitter,Facebook,Tumblr.

The results of the three universities interviewed represent a continuum in the use of social media and policies monitoring and analyzing the data. However, the important finding from these interviews is that all of the universities recognized a need to communicate with students through social media as it is their choice of communication. How that is to be effectively done and measured was in question for the universities.

Students responses Students from the authors University were asked via Obsurvey to describe the social media they used and for what purpose. Examples of social media were Twitter, Facebook, emails, and blogs. A total of 35 specific social media sites were identified by name. The top three, in order, were Facebook, email, and Twitter; Tumblr was a distant fourth. Nearly three quarters of students identified Facebook as the media of choice in connecting with family and friends to socialize, to keep up with events (related to family and friends), to (re)connect with distant family and friends, and to keep up with gossip and news concerning their personal relationships. These students were also moderately to heavily connected via email, several using more than one account to separate personal and school-related business. Students differentiated and defined exactly how they used different media for different aspects of their lives leading to two dominant themes:

1. The use of Facebook for socializing with family and friends 2. The use of email for communicating with professors and school and communicating with family and friends. Very few indicated using Facebook to keep up with general events such as sports, world, and entertainment news. The following quotes are representative of students responses on the use of Facebook for personal relationships and connections: For keeping up with friends and staying in touch with family that doesn't live close. To stay in contact with my high school friends and all my friends that I made in college in state or out of state Many students use social media such as Facebook for gossip. Some use it to find long distant friends or family and to stay in touch. But in reality I believe it is mainly used for social drama. As noted above, although students were heavily connected via email, they emphasized the specificity of its uses to connecting with school, professors, and classmates, followed by connecting with family and friends. The following quotes are representative of students responses on the use of email for school-related affairs and personal relationships: I highly rely on getting emails prior to attending my classes in case of cancellation or spontaneous homework assignments due the following day. To stay in contact with my teachers and the friends that dont have Facebook My email I use for school. My professors contact me there, the school contacts me there, and any important related things. When I buy books or anything online it goes through my email. Students were asked if they considered themselves to be heavy, medium, or light users of social media. Approximately 85% of respondents considered themselves as heavy (33.7%) or medium (51%) users of social medial, as shown in Table 2. Table 2 Social Media Use


Students were asked if they ever sent a complaint to [West Coast University] or any other school or complained to other people about [West Coast University] or another school. If they complained, what media did they use? Email was the dominant tool with 70 percent indicating the use of this media for filing or sharing complaints to or about their school(s). Thirty percent of respondents identified Facebook as the media of choice for complaining to or about their school(s). Fourteen percent identified Other media type, such as, Tumblr, text, Ratemyprofessor, in-person, phone call. Smaller percentages used Letters (8%) and Twitter (6%). These numbers would highlight the use of more than one media at a time for sharing complaints, as shown in Table 3. Table 3 Complaint history (Source: Student Survey)

For each of the students complaints, the authors asked if the students were satisfied with the schools responses. If they were not satisfied, what did they expect? Nearly twice as many students indicated that they never filed complaints compared to those who filed complaints. For those students who filed complaints, they 1) filed complaints and had their grievances addressed to their satisfaction, 2) filed or shared complaints and were not satisfied with the outcome, or 3) posted grievances to vent but did not expect schools to address their concerns. Among the students who were satisfied, the following quotes were the most representative: Yes, but I mostly used them to make the problem public- like when grades took an extra month to be published, I put my dissatisfaction all over the school's public Facebook page. The school uses that page to advertise itself; if current students are posting complaints and destroy their credibility publicly, they'll fix their problems for [darn] sure. Sure enough when I did this, the next day an email went out and a day later grades were up. The transparency and lack of privacy on the internet is a powerful tool of persuasion. Yes, I mostly got the responses I wanted either from peers or from the institution. It depends, too, on what kind of response I am trying to provoke--but I am usually successful. I was satisfied with the response because I received immediate feedback/answers. Among the students who filed or shared complaints via social media and were dissatisfied, the following quotes were the most representative:

No because they said the problem would be fixed but it never got fixed. Not really. My trust with housing disappeared. I might never rely on housing members ever again. The report I sent to housing was supposed to be kept secret and yet it was revealed. I feel disrespected. I wasn't satisfied. The school employee I had emailed never responded to me even after I had sent multiple emails with my issues about the school There were several students who used social media to vent, but did not formally file or expect a response, as noted below: Sometimes I use social media to complain personally, but not usually directly with the hopes of a response. I was just complaining about my high school's system. I had people agree with me. I didn't expect anything; I was just complaining because I could. Ya, because it was just stating what you have to say and feeling better after. There were several students who opted to handle grievances with direct contact with school officials, some noting the limitations of social media in reaching out to school officials who could address their concerns, as noted in the following quotes: No it did not get resolved [via social media]. We had to have a personal meeting with the counselor and a teacher. No, not satisfied. My email was not answered and I had to set up a meeting with the campus director myself. I have never made a complaint and if I were to make a complaint, it would be by letter or personally. Key Findings from the Surveys Quantitative results from the surveys suggest that the majority of college students at [West Coast University] self-identified as medium to heavy users of social media. Facebook and email were the top two media tools for communicating with family, friends, professors, and other acquaintances. Students differentiated the use of Facebook and email based on the populations they intended to target. In other words, Facebook was the primary source for communication to family and friends while email was the dominant tool of choice for communication with their schools and their professors. When students had grievances against their school(s), their primary choice of social media was email to communicate directly with school officials, followed by the use of Facebook to vent, but without an expectation for a response from the school they were targeting. It was noteworthy

that several students who had grievances opted to communicate with school officials by phone or in person, recognizing they had limited options to communicate with their schools beyond those means. As we noted earlier, schools uses of social media such as Facebook and Twitter for promotional, uni-directional purposes appear to limit the options students have in communicating with schools about grievances or concerns. This is of particular importance because, as was revealed in this study, students are heavy users of social media. Therefore, there is room for expansion by schools in monitoring social networks to guage students level of satisfaction with their schools services and programs and being proactive in addressing general student concerns, as noted in the following quotation from a student not part of the survey: A lot of students and people in general use Facebook and Twitter as a way of expressing themselves and venting so they frequently post complaints on their own personal pages or even post them on the Office of Admission Facebook page. The Admission staff have often directed students to (the student government).....,which is not a satisfactory answer to that student because they feels as if their question is just being avoided....The only way I can see the school being able to appropriately address students complaint on social media would be to gather multiple students opinion..... (1/31/2012 email from active student)

Conclusion and Recommendation for Further Research This study is limited in scope and had the objective of initially exploring the use of social media in handling student complaints. In-depth interviews involving several universities would reveal interesting results, especially if monitored temporally. Our findings revealed that universities understand the need to use social media as it is the communication choice of students. However, actual use, policies for responding to and measuring social media activity, and sharing information among departments are in the growth stage. Obviously, many concerns and constraints would arise in establishing the use of social media to handle student complaints. However, this study has indicated a need for such activity and it should be a priority for discussion among universities.

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For each one, were you satisfied with response? If not, what else did you expect?



John H. Bantham, Illinois State University ABSTRACT It is well established that business firms invest significant resources to improve their customers satisfaction, anticipating that increased customer satisfaction will favorably affect the organizations competitive position and profitability (Curtis, Abratt, Rhoades and Dion, 2011). There is a significant body of literature that addresses numerous aspects of customer satisfaction in a business context. However, until recently, little research has addressed the importance of customer satisfaction in the higher education marketplace (Karimi, 2008). Institutions of higher education are beginning to recognize that they are part of the service industry and are, therefore, placing more emphasis on student satisfaction (Letcher and Neves, 2010). Changes in this increasingly competitive marketplace are leading college administrators to apply customer-oriented principles typically used in business to their institutions. Universities are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of student satisfaction in recruitment, retention and academic success (DeShields Jr., Kara and Kaynak, 2005). A growing stream of research has focused on students satisfaction with their academic experience. Much of this research has focused on evaluating the service quality of a higher educational institution. Most of these studies have found academic staff/teaching and classes/curriculum to be significant variables in predicting overall student satisfaction (Gibson, 2010). Indeed, students assessment of instructors has long been a part of educational institutions process of determining the quality of teaching (Smimou and Dahl, 2012). However, to date, little has been written regarding the use of student satisfaction measures to aid an individual faculty member in improving their course content and delivery. This expository paper will review the processes the author has followed in assessing student satisfaction in the specific courses he teaches. This review will cover how shared expectations are established for both students and the instructor, the data collection and analysis processes employed, exemplars of the recurring themes distilled from the rich qualitative student responses and examples of course improvements that the author has made based on this process. References Curtis, Tamilla, Russell Abratt, Dawna Rhoades and Paul Dion (2011), Customer loyalty, repurchase and satisfaction: a meta-analytical review, Journal of Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, 24, 1-26. DeShields, Oscar W. Jr., Ali Kara and Erdener Kaynak (2005), Determinants of business student satisfaction and retention in higher education: applying Herzbergs two-factor theory, International Journal of Education Management, 19 (2), 128-139.

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Olev Wain, Ph.D. The Dunvegan Group Suite11, Courtview Building 69 Light Street Woodstock, Ontario N4S 6G9 Canada Tel: 519-602-0160 Ext. 4597 Fax: 519-539-1543 ABSTRACT A critical business concern for any company is whether a customer is likely to remain loyal or defect to another service provider. Measuring only customer satisfaction is not sufficient for determining the likelihood of customer retention or defection. Customer retention is affected by three factors: i) the perceived quality of the service the company provides, ii) the customers tolerance for poor service and iii) the perceived value of competitive offerings. The likelihood of retention is estimated based on the customers position in this three-factor service space.
Keywords - B2B, Paradigm, Customer Retention, Customer Satisfaction, OSAT, Single Measures, Multiple Measures, Convergent Indicators, Service Space, Managed Services, Professional Services, Tolerance for Poor Service

INTRODUCTION High satisfaction with service levels is a necessary but not sufficient condition for customer retention. Some highly satisfied customers may defect to a competitive service provider while others with low levels of satisfaction with a companys service, may continue as customers. The relationship between customers perceptions and customers behavior (i.e., stay or defect) should not be measured with only a single satisfaction question. This can lead to erroneous conclusions about the customer and their intended behavior. For some customers service delivery must be at the top of the scale; otherwise, they will be dissatisfied and consider defecting to a competitor. Other customers, however, will endure eroding service for a long time before they will defect to a competitor. There are many variations between these two positions. As an example, in a recently conducted study with a B2B client company, it was discovered that among customers with an overall satisfaction (OSAT) rating of 8, 9 or 10, the defection rate was 20%, while among those providing an OSAT rating of zero it was 40% (and 60% remained as customers).

This means, that in those situations where the service being provided is perceived to be something less than excellent, it must also be determined whether the customer is at the point where he is thinking of leaving and going to another service provider. In the B2B environment, there can be numerous reasons for not defecting to a competitive service provider even though satisfaction levels with ones current provider may be low. THE CUSTOMER SERVICE SPACE A primary issue for any business is whether or not a customer will continue to purchase their product or service. This can be influenced by multiple factors. Therefore, using any single measure to gauge whether a customer is loyal (e.g., overall satisfaction), is not sufficient. Having customers who are satisfied certainly makes for a collegial relationship, but if the customer perceives there is a better solution available elsewhere, their current level of satisfaction may not be sufficient to prevent them from defecting. Of ultimate concern to any company is what a customer is prepared to do based on his perceptions of his service space or service environment. Whether the customer defects or stays is a function of the strength of the bond between the customer and the company. Our research has demonstrated that there are several conditions for customer retention: The service provided is perceived to be so good that the customer is consciously wanting or willing to continue their business relationship with a company. They are willing to recommend their current service provider to others. (A willingness to recommend must be developed prior to a likelihood of doing so.) A companys service is perceived to be better than the competitions.

For some customers, the factors in their service space affecting the strength of their bond with a company may be correlated to some degree. For example, even though the service provided is excellent and fulfils all of a customers requirements, the knowledge that there are other companies who are capable of giving the same or better level of service, may result in their lowering their evaluation of the quality of the service they are currently receiving. Therefore, these three factors should not be viewed as defining an orthogonal three-dimensional space (i.e., perception with respect to one factor may influence perceptions of service quality on another factor). Factor 1: Overall Perception of Current Service Quality Of the three factors, perceived service quality is likely the most important. Customers often have their own views on what constitutes good service; this view may differ from commonly held best practices in an industry. If service does not fulfil a customers requirements, the likelihood of starting to think about alternate service providers increases.


Factor 2: Tolerance for Poor Service Poor service may be tolerated in situations where the customer perceives that there are no acceptable alternatives or none of the competitive service offerings are perceived to be superior (e.g., all service suppliers are perceived to be as poor as their current supplier or worse). Furthermore, switching to an alternate service provider may be deterred by unbearable costs and effort on the part of the customer and his company. For example, when an outsourced service interfaces with a customer companys business processes at multiple points or levels, there may be considerable administrative effort required in switching over to a new service provider. Tolerance of poor service may also be high in cases where the decision to renew a service contract is made by a senior decision maker whose primary consideration is cost. There are, of course, limits to the tolerance of poor service and this limit may be uniquely defined by each customer. Factor 3: Perception of Competitive Service Offerings The strength of the pull of competitive service offerings on the bond between customers and a company cannot be underestimated. Today, customers can access volumes of competitor information without having to make a single telephone call. Focussed marketing initiatives, as well as immediate access to on-line customer evaluations of service provision (both B2C and B2B) are part of todays competitive landscape. Any retention measure should take into consideration how a company compares to its competition. Even though a company may get a high rating from a customer for the service they provide, it could still lose the customers business if its competitors are perceived to be better. Alternatively, even if the service it provides its customers is poor, a company will still have a competitive advantage if it is perceived to be the best in the industry. CONCLUSIONS The three factor service space described in this paper is used for the development of measures and programmes for monitoring and managing customer retention in the B2B environment for both professional and managed services. The measures are founded on the likelihood of a customer undertaking specific behavioral outcomes as a result of i) their perception of service quality as well as ii) their tolerance of poor or inadequate service, which are both iii) moderated by the pull or attraction of competitive service offerings. The use of multiple measures in determining an index of the impact of individual service attributes on customer retention/defection contributes to their reliability (Lord and Novick, 1968) (Nunnally and Bernstein, 1994)

REFERENCES J. C. Nunnally and I. H. Bernstein (1994), Psychometric Theory, 3rd ed., McGraw-Hill, Inc. New York F. M. Lord and M. R. Novick (1968), Statistical Theories of Mental Test Scores, AddisonWesley: Reading, Massachusetts. ACKNOWLEDGMENT The Dunvegan Group wishes to acknowledge its B2B client companies who provide professional and managed services, for their help and cooperation in the development and validation of this three factor paradigm for determining the strength of the bond between B2B customers and the companies that serve them. Data from their on-going customer retention and management audit programmes have been used in the development of this paradigm and its validation, as defined by their success in retaining customers.


DIFFERENT PATHWAYS TO WINNING BACK LOST CUSTOMERS: A CROSS-NATIONAL STUDY Annie H. Liu, Ph.D. Formerly APEC Educator and Director VTM Foundation International Washington, DC and Los Angeles and Currently Marketing Professor, Victoria University of Wellington Wellington, New Zealand Sijun Wang, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Marketing, Department of Marketing and Business Law, Loyola Marymount University 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA Mark Leach, Ph.D. Professor of Marketing, Department of Marketing and Business Law, Loyola Marymount University 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA

ABSTRACT Successfully convincing a defected customer to switch back is the strategic second half of CRM. Global firms need to know the interplay of culture in customers' switch back decisions. This study proposes a triadic model for customer reacquisition in the service sector and applies the model to compare Chinese and American consumers in their respective decision-making processes. The results show that the economic incentive is the most important determinant for both samples. Cultural differences suggest that a worthy win-back offer for Chinese customers should incorporate special treatments/favors to promote social/relational value, while for American customers, it should elicit post-switching regret.
Keywords Customer Reacquisition; Cultural Differences; Confucius Values; Switch Back; Relative Social Capital; Economic Incentive; Emotions.


Anurag Pant Assistant Professor of Marketing School of Business and Economics Indiana University South Bend 1700 Mishawaka Avenue P.O. Box 7111 South Bend, IN 46634 Ph: 574-5204293 Email: Sanjay Mishra Associate Professor of Marketing Summerfield Hall School of Business University of Kansas Lawrence, KS 66045 7585

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M. Sajid Khan Associate Professor of Marketing Tel: +971 6 515 2463 Email: Earl Naumann Professor of Marketing Email: Tel: +971 6 515 2472 Paul Williams Professor of Marketing Tel: +971 6 515 2734 Email: All authors at: Department of Marketing, School of Business & Management, American University of Sharjah, P O Box 26666, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. ABSTRACT Given the significant importance of national culture on many attitudes, this study explores Japanese customer perceptions of service performance and their impact on satisfaction and on repurchase intentions. The paper offers both a conceptual and practical review of the existing literature surrounding service performance dimensions, customer satisfaction, and repurchase intentions in B-to-B services. It seems that there has been very little research on exploring the drivers of customer satisfaction and repurchase intentions in a Japanese service context. It is evident that conceptualizations of service interaction will need to encompass a significant social interaction component between a suppliers personnel and their contact in the customer organization. For this study, there were three touch points of personal interaction between the service provider and the customer, in addition to several other independent variables. These were account reps, technicians, and emergency service personnel. Using responses from 700 completed interviews in Japan (with key decision makers), from a Fortune 100 company, we used a structural equation modeling approach to analyze the data. We found several significant drivers of customer satisfaction and repurchase intentions from both the suppliers product and service delivery performance. Specifically, we found that the service delivery dimensions of account rep and technician performance, as well as product perceptions, were strongly related to customer satisfaction, which, in turn, was strongly related to repurchase intentions. Price perceptions were not related to satisfaction but were related to repurchase dimensions. The results have implications for both academic research and managers who are interested in managing the customer interface more effectively in Japanese B-to-B services.

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Marianne Bickle Professor and Director, Center for Retailing Sam Walton Fellow University of South Carolina 1018-G Carolina Coliseum Columbia, SC 29208 (office) 803-777-3805 (cell) 803-361-0730

ABSTRACT Consumers and government officials alike are placing tangible expectations on companies actions. These efforts are called corporate social responsibility (CSR). The food industry in particular is taking on a variety of CSR actions ranging from green initiatives to healthy menu items. The purpose of this paper is to examine the satisfaction outcomes resulting from CSR actions of Clif Bar, Chipolte, McDonalds and Yale University. Data are gathered using interviews with senior executives. On-site industry interviews enable the researchers to become informed about industry-specific issues and challenges as they relate to consumer attitudes toward the companys products, advertising efforts, and socially responsible promotion. Stakeholder theory is used as the conceptual framework. The theory is based upon the belief that businesses should expand their aspirations beyond the generation of company growth and shareholder wealth to achieve social goals and has been applied within the marketing literature on ethics and social responsibility. Results reveal three themes regarding satisfaction of the companys stakeholders: (a) attitude toward CSR, (b) reasons for CSR, and (c) responses toward CSR. All four companies indicate that CSR attitudes, reasons and actions provide employees satisfaction with a job well done; customers are more satisfied with the company and its products. . Key words: Corporate social responsibility, satisfaction, food industry, stakeholder theory



Kendra L. Harris, PhD (Contact author) Assistant Professor North Carolina Central University Durham, NC 27707 (919) 530-7394 Lionel Thomas, PhD Assistant Professor North Carolina Central University Durham, NC 27707 (919) 530-6255 Jacqueline Williams, PhD Associate Professor North Carolina A&T State University Greensboro, NC (336) 334-7656 ABSTRACT Justice theory is used to assess consumers perceptions of fairness in complaint handling methods. The increase in online commerce suggests increased investigation into online complaint activity. The purpose of this research is to determine whether respondents who seek complaint resolution online are satisfied in the same manner as respondents who use conventional complaint mechanisms. Qualitative data from 499 respondents were analyzed using the CATegory (CATPAC) software package. Fifty nine percent of the respondents were male, 38% were female. Close to 48% were college graduates. Fifteen percent held masters degrees, however 25% had completed some post-graduate work. Forty nine percent of the respondents earned over $50,001. Open-ended questions for the qualitative results included; 1) Please explain the reason you preferred your first ranked preference, and 2) If you do not particularly prefer using the online option, please explain why. Based on the analysis of qualitative data our results showed that both online and offline complaint respondents experience justice in the complaint process. However, interactional justice was interpreted differently in the two complaint groups. Additionally, the qualitative analyses results showed that interactional justice manifested for opposing reasons between the two complaint groups.

For conventional complainers, interactional justice meant that the consumers wanted the tangible human interaction. This was evidenced by the conventional complainers being happy about making themselves known to the companies to which they were complaining. The online complainers however, enjoyed the anonymity the use of technology afforded them. These online complainers were happy about not being known to the companies to which they were complaining. However, the online complainers viewed behind the scenes human involvement by the company as a needed component for reaching complaint satisfaction. BIBLIOGRAPHY Blodgett, Jeffrey, G., Donna J. Hill, and Stephen S. Tax (1997), The effects of distributive, procedural and interactional justice on postcomplaint behavior, Journal of Retailing, 73(2), 185-210 Day, Ralph L. and E. Laird Landon (1977), Toward a Theory of Consumer Complaining Behavior, Consumer and Industrial Buying Behavior, P. D. Bennett. New York, NorthHolland, 425-437. Fan, Yi-Wen, Cheng-Chieh Wu, and Wei-Ting Wu ( 2010), The impacts of online retailing service recovery and perceived justice on consumer loyalty, International Journal of Electronic Business Management, 8(3), 239-249. Venkatesh, Shankar, Amy Smith, and Arvind Rangaswamy (2003), Customer satisfaction and loyalty in online and offline environments, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 20,153-175.



Steven A. Taylor, Ph.D. Hinderliter Chair of Business Dept. of Marketing Campus Box 5590 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790-5590 Phone: (309) 438-8772 Fax: (309) 438-5510 E-Mail: Chiharu Ishida, Ph.D. Dept. of Marketing Campus Box 5590 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790-5590 Phone: (309) 438-3261 Fax: (309) 438-5510 E-Mail: Jamie R. Mulligan, Ph.D. Dept. of Management & Quantitative Methods Campus Box 5580 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790-5580 Phone: (309) 438-7810 Fax: (309) 438-5510 E-Mail: Myoung Jin Kim, Ph.D. College of Nursing Campus Box 5810 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790-5580 Phone: (309) 438-2566 Fax: (309) 438-4410 Email:

ABSTRACT Oliver's Expectancy Disconfirmation Model (EDM) asserts that satisfaction as a consumption response cannot occur without a standard of comparison; specifically performance is compared to the consumer's expectation. This comparative process is referred to as disconfirmation. The

EDM establishes disconfirmation as a unique latent construct, and further breaks disconfirmation down into objective and subjective forms. We first argue that disconfirmation is conceptuallly very similar to the concept of congruence (i.e., agreement, similarity, fit) in organizational theory. We then review a potential advance in using latent modeling techniques to operationalize congruence/disconfirmation processes, called the Latent Congruence Model (LCM). This model is appears to be more consistent with objective disconfirmation. Finally, there are a number of potential theoretical and modeling issues that are identified for consumer satisfaction researchers to consider if interested in using the LCM in consumer satisfaction research, including issues related to multicollinearity and model identification/rank-order conditions. Introduction Oliver (2010) calls for satisfaction researchers to develop models with a greater appreciation of consumers thought processes. In support of this call, Oliver (2010) discusses the Expectancy Disconfirmation Model (hereafter referred to as EDM) asserting that satisfaction as a thoughtful response to consumption cannot occur without a standard of comparison. The EDM recognizes a plethora of comparison standards that can influence the formation of consumer satisfaction judgments, including a variety of forms of expectations, consumer needs, and/or perceived benefits or problems. The current article focuses on the prickly task of appropriately operationalizing (measuring) the process of disconfirmation, not on the variety of comparative standards that are available to consumers underlying satisfaction judgments. As such, the remainder of this article is divided into several sections. First, what we know about how disconfirmation processes are related to satisfaction judgments is reviewed. Second, a potential advance in using latent modeling techniques to operationalize disconfirmation processes is reviewed. Third, some problematic issues related to this method are identified, leading to the identification of several key considerations by satisfaction researchers. Finally, the implications of this discussion for satisfaction researchers are articulated. Disconfirmation and Satisfaction Oliver (2010) argues that suggesting that individuals make performance judgments with reference to a standard is not unique to any field, nor can any discipline lay claim to the domain of inquiry. This process is generally referred to by satisfaction researchers as expectancy disconfirmation, or more generally, disconfirmation, and is presented as equation [1]: Disconfirmation = (Performance1 Expectations2 or Comparison Standard) [1] Thus, disconfirmation, in this context, commonly refers to the psychological interpretation of an expectation-performance discrepancy. In other words, disconfirmation relates to the process of comparison. Specifically, the EDM portrays perceptions of performance and expectations as formatively linked to disconfirmation judgments represented as a unique constructs in two forms:

Oliver (2010, p. 23) defines performance within the context of the EDM as The perceived amount of a product or service attribute outcome or overall outcome delivered and/or received, usually reported on an objective scale bounded by good and bad levels of performance (e.g., courteous/discourteous service, terrific/terrible product). 2 Oliver (2010, p.22) defines expectations within the context of the EDM as A prediction, sometimes stated as a probability or likelihood, of attribute or product performance at a specific performance level. Includes anticipations, which may be positive (e.g., hope) and apprehensions, which are usually negative (e.g., fear or dread).


calculative and subjective disconfirmation (defined below). Oliver (2010) further argues that disconfirmation processes fall under the more general theoretical umbrella of discrepancy theory. For example, the theoretical bases of disconfirmation processes have been progressively linked to dissonance theory, assimilation versus contrast interpretations, and more recently, the EDM. Early attempts to operationalize disconfirmation simplistically subtracted attribute-level measures of perceptions of performance from matching expectations items (i.e., calculative disconfirmation). This was largely because while the perceived discrepancy between expectations and performance is likely inferred, expectations and performance perceptions could be measured and manipulated as independent constructs. However, this proved problematic in the sense that they led to satisfaction researchers to assume a ceiling-and-floor effect, wherein expectations at the ceiling could only be confirmed or negatively disconfirmed, and expectations at the floor could only be confirmed or disconfirmed positively. Unfortunately, consumer perceptions are not bounded by a true zero as implied in these assumptions. Thus, to fully understand disconfirmation processes, a means had to be found to allow for better than best and poorer than poor consumer perceptions. Consequently, it was becoming increasingly clear that advances in consumer satisfaction research required development of a means to measure/treat disconfirmation processes as unique and independent interval-level constructs, an argument validated by Weaver and Brickman (1974). This led to the development of direct measures of disconfirmation (not calculative measures). Importantly, the emergence of direct measures of disconfirmation appeared to assume a realist philosophical perspective underlying the formation of consumer satisfaction. Edwards (2011) notes that the critical realist perspective views constructs as real entities, which influence scores on their associated measures (i.e., they exist independent of other, even related, constructs). Given the assumption of the potential for disconfirmation to exist independent of its component parts (i.e., performance and a comparison standard), we next consider how issues related to the form of disconfirmation have evolved. Specifically, we consider the question of whether or not disconfirmation should be considered as a subjective expression (i.e., an entirely separate latent variable), or best represented as a purely mathematical reflection (an objective reflection) of such comparison processes. Observation 1: The evolution of EDM appears to be based on the implicit assumption of a realist philosophical perspective. Objective versus Subjective Forms of Disconfirmation As identified above, initial attempts in measuring disconfirmation involved difference scores, which are obtained by subtracting one measure from another to create a measure of a third, debatably unique construct. These calculated differences are referred to as objective or calculative disconfirmation. However, Peter et al. (1993) identify a number of problems with the use of calculated difference scores, including: 1. Reliability Problems Difference scores are usually less reliable than their component parts because as the reliability of component scores decreases, so does the reliability of the difference score. In addition, as the correlation between the component scores becomes larger

(often be the case with positive correlations as the same respondent provide scores on component based on identical scales (Johns, 1981), the reliability of the difference score also decreases. Also, lower reliability of difference scores attenuates their observed correlations with other variables. 2. Discriminant Validity Problems The resulting (false) lower correlations between model concepts can create the illusion of discriminant validity. In addition, linear combinations of scale scores (as occur in difference scores) often lead to a strong inter-correlation between the difference score (as a unique concept) and one of the component constructs. Thus, if the difference score does not distinguish from the components operationally, then discriminant validity is not apparent. 3. Spurious Correlations If difference scores are not unique from their component scores, any correlation between difference scores and other model variables is likely to be spurious because the difference between the variables provides no new information beyond that held by the components themselves. Further, multicollinearity between models including disconfirmation and its components can produce unstable parameter estimates. 4. Variance Restriction Problems This systematic problem occurs when one of the components used in calculating difference scores is consistently higher than the other (e.g., performance > expectations). This is potentially applicable as given the widely-held recognition that performance measures possess greater predictive validity than either importance-weighted attribute or traditional calculated (subtractive) disconfirmation measures.3 Oliver (2010) contrasts objective versus subjective forms of disconfirmation, which are typically operationalized by better/worse scales of performance. Oliver asserts that subjective better/worse scales of performance are not measuring the same thing as objective difference scores, which measure the difference between performance and standards (e.g., expectations) by subtracting one from the other. Oliver (2010) argues that consumers typically "measure disconfirmation and satisfaction symbolically, verbally, or qualitatively therefore subjectively. Olson, Goffin, and Hayes (2007) make similar argument about measuring attitudinal constructs in general. They argue that absolute versus relative attitudinal measures tap different aspects of attitudes. Specifically, absolute measures assess the actual positivity-negativity of the evaluation, while relative ratings assess the favorability of the evaluation in comparison to a reference. That is, performance measurements could elicit different aspects of performance evaluation when asking in isolation of a reference point, as opposed to when a reference is provided. Oliver (2010) concedes that there is no direct evidence of the existence of subjective disconfirmation, however, makes an argument for the theoretical existence of subjective disconfirmation judgments as underlying satisfaction judgments. First, he asserts that consumers rarely perform calculative disconfirmation processes at the expectation and performance levels of consideration (either attribute or summative). In fact, he cites examples of product/service

This observation was established by Cronin and Taylor (1992). Importantly, their investigation considered service quality as the ultimate dependent variable of interest. However, this was predicated by the popular perspective at the time that service quality and customer satisfaction were very similar, if not identical concepts by many marketers. Irrespective, the popularity of attribute performance-based models for explaining service quality and satisfaction in marketing practice remains largely unabated. Oliver (2010) similarly argues that importance weights are essentially factored into feature (dis)satisfaction judgments because individuals assign more extreme positive and negative ratings (the range of effects) to more important attributes. Thus, importance as evaluated by the consumer does not add to predictability in satisfaction models.


attribute that are typically difficult for consumers to numerate. Second, he points out that only the consumer can attach the proper amount of valence to any differences they calculate. This can lead to a lack of precision in consumers translation of numeric scores to subjective meaning. Third, he notes that consumers may implicitly weigh either expectations or performance more highly than the other (particularly over time What did I expect?). Finally, the raw difference score does not contain the consumers valence toward the discrepancy. Based on these arguments, Oliver (2010) argues that calculative disconfirmation occurs first as a consumer response, providing an exogenous influence to subjective disconfirmation measures. Satisfaction, in this view is endogenous to subjective disconfirmation judgments. Olivers EDM also allows for the potential of indirect influences as well as direct influences between all of the involved concepts. Oliver (2010) cites several articles that demonstrate that subjective disconfirmation is more strongly correlated with satisfaction than calculative forms of disconfirmation as well as providing better model fits as a predictive order. This is partly why subjective disconfirmation is causally positioned in the EDM as mediating the calculative form of disconfirmation and consumer satisfaction judgments. Observation 2: The evolution of EDM theory has led to the theoretical development of two forms of disconfirmation, calculative and subjective disconfirmation, as unique independent constructs. Summary In summary, the weight of the existing evidence related to disconfirmation in consumer satisfaction contexts suggest that (1) the EDM is the predominant theoretical framework for understanding the formation of satisfaction judgments, (2) the evolution of the EDM appears based on an assumption of a realist philosophical perspective, (3) different comparison standards can lead to different disconfirmation conclusions, (4) the very nature of disconfirmation measurements can vary by being either calculative or subjective, and (5) there appears a general relative causal order in that calculative disconfirmation subjective disconfirmation satisfaction. This generally describes the current state of understanding of how disconfirmation processes are related to satisfaction judgments. Fortunately, recent advances in the field of organizational congruency research have presented a potential structural equation-based (hereafter referred to as SEM) modeling technique that may advance disconfirmation measurement practices and theoretical understanding for satisfaction researchers. The next section introduces consumer researchers to a new model with potential direct implications for disconfirmation theory and measurement. Cheungs (2009) Latent Congruency Model Cheung (2009a) proposes the Latent Congruence Modeling (hereafter referred to as LCM) as an SEM-based model for operationalizing congruence that may have important implications for satisfaction researchers. Cheungs (2009a) model was originally developed within the context of organizational research, and he defined congruence as agreement, fit, or similarity (Cheung

2009a, Edwards 2009). We suggest that the process of congruence represents a subset of discrepancy models that are very similar to disconfirmation processes. The primary difference is one of context. Whereas congruence research has often related to human decision processes in organizational settings, disconfirmation has referred to these similar processes most often from a consumer perspective. Observation 3: Congruence and disconfirmation are theoretically similar concepts within the larger domain of discrepancy theory. For consumer satisfaction researchers, the LCM potentially allows us to create an independent latent construct of congruence/disconfirmation, which is a second-order factor reflective of two first-order latent constructs: performance and expectations.

Figure 1 Item-Level Latent Congruence Model (adapted from Cheung 2009, p. 12)


=M 11=V 1 1

1=Level 11=1

2=Congruence 12= 0.5

2 =V 22 Mc


1=Expectation Y 11 11 21 Y21 2 31 Y31 3

2=Performance 12 Y12 4 22 Y22 5 32 Y32 6


As seen in Figure 1, the basic premise of the LCM is to create two higher-order factors to represent the mean (Level) and difference (Congruence) of two independent component measures. The factor Level is operationalized as the mean rating of Y1 (performance) and Y2 (expectation) , which are independent observed variables, and is specified as a latent factor that has fixed factor loadings of 1 on Y1 and Y2. Congruence is a latent factor that has fixed factor loadings of -0.5 on Y1 and 0.5 on Y2 and is operationalized as the difference in rating between Y1 and Y2. The LCM can be expressed as: Y1= Level 0.5 Congruence Y2= Level + 0.5 Congruence Adding equations 2 and 3 yields: Level = Subtracting Equation 2 from Equation 3 produces: Congruence = Y2 Y1 [5] [4] [2] [3]

Satisfaction researchers will recognize that congruence as represented in equation 5 is functionally equivalent to calculative disconfirmation (i.e., difference score) as typically portrayed in satisfaction research. Also shown in Figure 1 are Ml (the Level grand mean), V1 (variance of the mean rating of Y1 and Y2), Mc (the average difference between Y1 and Y2), and Vc (the variance of the difference). The Level and Congruence are allowed to covary, which is represented by cov1c.4 The two observed variables Y1 and Y2 can be further replaced by two latent variables (1 and 2) with multiple indicators. This then becomes a second-order factor analysis model in which the second-order factors 1 and 2 define the Level and Congruence of the two first-order latent variables (1 and 2). The structural equation of and is: = + B + + [6] where are the intercepts, B are the regression coefficients among , are the regression coefficients of on , and are residuals of the structural equations. In the LCM equations (2) and (3) become: = 1 + 1 0.52 + 1, and = 2 + 1 0.52 + 2 The expected values of 1 and 2 are: E(1) = 1 +E(1) 0.5E(2) = 1 + 1 0.52, and

[7] [8]


For more complete mathematical description of the five model parameters (Ml , MC, Vl, Vc, and covlc), please refer to Appendix A of Cheung (2009, p.26)


E(2) = 2 +E(1) 0.5E(2) = 2 + 1 + 0.52


where 1 and 2 are estimates of Ml and Mc, respectively. To solve (7) and (8) and to identify the model, the constraint of 1 = 2 = 0 is made (setting the latent factor means to 0), such that: 1 =
( ) ( )

[11] [12]

2 = E(2) E(1)

Therefore, 1 and 2 are estimates of Ml and Mc, respectively. In addition, Cheung (2009a) calls for constraining the variance of the residuals between and (11= 22= 0) in the PSI matrix. He argues that this allows the variance and covariance of 1 and 2 (11, 22, and 21) to be expressed as the variance and covariance of the average and difference of 1 and 2, such that 11 is the estimate of V1, 22 is the estimate of Vc, and 21 is the estimate of cov1c. Cheungs (2009a) LCM promises to significantly contribute to the operationalization of comparative processes such as congruency, and disconfirmation (as argued herein) for several reasons. First, the LCM can control for measurement error in the operationalization of the disconfirmation process. Second, measurement invariance can be considered within disconfirmation processes (Vandenberg and Lance 2000), an important methodological consideration typically absent from disconfirmation-based satisfaction studies. Third, the LCM potentially allows for an examination of the antecedents and consequences of both the mean (absolute level) and difference (congruence) of both performance and a comparison standard simultaneously, potentially enhancing our understanding of disconfirmation processes. Finally, this method promises the ability to include multiple congruence constructs within single empirical models. Observation 4: The LCM appears to be a promising tool for operationalizing disconfirmation as a latent concept based upon the antecedent influences of perceptions of performance and some standard (e.g., expectations). Potential Issues and Some Proposed Solution Regarding the Use of Cheungs (2009a) Latent Congruency Model in Satisfaction Research Despite the purported potential advantages of the LCM for satisfaction researchers, there are some concerns in efforts to generalize the model to satisfaction contexts. We now investigate the appropriateness of attempts to extend the LCM to consumer satisfaction contexts, and identify three potential problem areas satisfaction researchers may encounter in such efforts: (1) multicollinearity, (2) model identification, and (3) rank-order conditions not being satisfied. Multicollinearity The basic premise of the LCM is the creation of two higher-order factors to represent the mean (Level) and difference (Congruence) of two interdependent component measures, Y1 and Y2, by constraining the parameters between the factors and the component measures to specified values

(see equations [4] and [5]). The factor loadings on Level imply that it is the grand mean of its measured predictors. The factor loadings on Congruence imply that it is simply a calculated difference score. In the LCM there is an inevitable multicollinearity issue and these second order factors do not provide any information beyond what the first order latent variables provide. When multicollinearity is present in an SEM model, it can produce inaccurate estimates of coefficients and standard errors. Additionally, this linear dependency can create negative residual variance(s) and/or correlations greater than one, which can be easily overlooked in the output but should be carefully investigated as they can produce inadmissible model results. Based on our initial experiences with the LCM, the problem frequently happens to be negative residual variances and this problem can be avoided by fixing the negative residual variances to zero. However, this remedy should only be taken when the negative residual variances are not significant. Model Identification In SEM, sufficient number of indicators must be present for the latent construct to be identified. A higher order factor needs at least three lower order latent variables for the model to be identified. However, Cheungs LCM has only two lower order latent variables for higher order factors so in fact the model is unidentified. Estimating LCM alone can go around this problem by fixing factor loadings for higher order latent variables, but this identification problem arises again when an outcome variable (e.g. satisfaction) is introduced to the model. To resolve this issue, there should be more data points to estimate the parameters and the introduction of a marker variable(s), which is not related with an outcome variable, serves as an instrumental variable which seems to make the model identified. Order Condition This condition is closely tied with identification problem and is a necessary condition for a model to be identified. The condition says that there should be at least p-1 variables excluded from each equation for endogenous variables, where p is the number of endogenous variables in the model (Bollen 1989). In the LCM model, there are no variables excluded from each equation for performance and expectation. This condition is still problematic when an outcome variable, satisfaction, is introduced. As it can be seen in Figure 2, we have three endogenous variables in the model so we need at least 2 variables excluded from each equation for endogenous variables. We satisfy this condition for performance and expectation as they leave out at least two variables, performance or expectation and satisfaction, but do not satisfy the condition for satisfaction as it only leaves out 1 variable, level.


Figure 2 The Issue of Rank-Order Condition

Therefore, parameters in the model, shown in Figure 2, can only be estimated when we take out one of the path from performance, expectation, and congruence. In studying satisfaction and EDM, this is not a practical model of interest due to the theoretical interpretation per Oliver (2010), which call for all three variables to be the antecedents of satisfaction. Regardless of which of the two paths, satisfaction on performance or satisfaction on expectation, is taken out, the model will estimate the other parameter equal as they are both based on the same path coefficients between the first and second order factors. In other words, they are equivalent models, an alternative model of each other that fits the data equally well and produces the same covariance or correlation matrix.


Figure 3 Solving the Issue of Rank-Order Condition

This problem can also be resolved with the introduction of marker variable(s) (e.g. a marker variable on congruence as shown in Figure 3) by leaving out additional variable(s) for each endogenous variable. Observation 5: Three potential problem areas satisfaction researchers may encounter in efforts to generalize the LCM to satisfaction studies include (1) multicollinearity, (2) model identification, and (3) rank-order conditions not being satisfied. Edwards' (2009) Critique of Cheungs (2009) Latent Congruency Model Edwards (2009) also has concerns regarding the use of the LCM. He provides empirical evidence against the use of the LCM via Monte Carlo simulation experiments. While he acknowledges the importance of addressing measurement error and measurement equivalence, he then indicates that "from a substantive perspective the LCM is a step backward" (p35) for the following two reasons. First, the LCM is restricted to linear relationships, therefore, cannot address curvilinear relationships. Satisfaction theory has long been recognized to involve nonlinear functions (Oliver 2010). Second, consistent with the argument above, the LCM shifts attention from the components of congruence to the difference and mean of the components, reintroducing problems with calculated difference scores. Edwards refers to his polynomial

regression model (1994) which purports to solve these identified issues. He further proposes an alternative SEM, simply dropping the Level and Congruence constructs from the LCM. Empirical evidence is provided supporting the validity of this approach which asserts that dropping Level and Congruence from the LCM is justified in that they are not discriminately valid because they are perfect linear combinations of their measured components, Y1 and Y2. Cheung (2009b) counters by arguing that organizational researchers have been reluctant to adapt Edwards' polynomial regression model as less than 20% of person-environment fit research has employed this model; plausible reasons include accessibility and interpretability. Cheung (2009b) summarizes that that the major difference between the LCM and Edwards proposed SEM alternative (dropping Level and Congruence, 2009) is that the LCM considers congruence and its components as distinct constructs, and therefore able to potentially answer different research questions. Specifically, in the LCM, congruence is an unmeasured (latent) concept. Because the factor loadings on congruence are constrained in the LCM such that they imply that congruence is merely a calculated difference score, this model appears to be closely related to forms of calculative disconfirmation in the EDM model. In general, calculated difference scores are measured component concepts, which make them easy to implement in practice. Alternatives to calculated difference scores, include direct measures of congruence, which involve asking respondents to directly report the difference or similarity between the component variables, typically with "better/worse" scales. Such measures are in-line with subjective disconfirmation as theorized by Oliver's EDM. It is important to note that Edwards (2009) does advocate direct measures of congruence for incorporation into latent model analyses, stating that direct measures are worth studying in their own right, but that "this research is meaningful only when congruence is operationalize not by subtracting component variables, but by measuring perceived differences and congruence directly." (p55) Observation 6: The LCM appears more closely related to the operationalization of calculative forms of disconfirmation, and it remains unclear whether subjective forms of disconfirmation are consistent with congruence as an unmeasured latent construct. Summary and Implications The preceding discussion first identifies the LCM as a promising alternative means to operationalize disconfirmation vis--vis consumer satisfaction judgments. The method is based upon SEM and purports to afford many of the general benefits associated with the use of SEM models. However, several potential issues are identified for consideration by satisfaction researchers in attempting to generalize the LCM to consumer satisfaction research, including issues related to potential multi-collinearity, identification challenges, and rank-order hurdles. Fortunately, the introduction of a marker variable into estimation models based upon the LCM may help attenuate issues related to rank order and identification. The practice of including marker variables in consumer satisfaction studies is consistent with the recommendations of Taylor and Ishida (2010). Perhaps the most intriguing issue raised by the consideration herein involves the theoretical

nature of disconfirmation processes themselves. The EDM, as the predominant exemplar underlying consumer satisfaction research, appears based upon an assumption of a realist philosophical perspective. This underlying philosophical perspective supports the argument in EDM theory for two unique and independent forms of disconfirmation, one calculative and one subjective. Confidence in the existence of these two independent forms of disconfirmation would benefit from greater attention by consumer satisfaction researchers in future studies. One promising approach to creating such evidence may be to consider whether disconfirmation processes are best operationalized as reflective or formative measures. It appears noncontroversial to assert the growing popularity of formative measurement across social sciences (Jarvis et al. 2003; Diamantopoulos and Winklhofer 2001; Diamantopoulos and Siguaw 2006; Diamantopoulos et al. 2008; Diamantopoulos 2006, 2011; Coltman et al. 2008). However, questions about the appropriateness of formative measures have been raised by Howell et al. (2007a), who call for the use of reflective measures whenever possible when considering which type of model to adopt for a study because formative indicators are inherently subject to interpretational confounding. For purposes of the current research, Howell et al.s (2007a,2007b) argument begins with the claim that a latent variable exists apart from the model with reflective indicators, and does not with formative indicators.5 However, Bollen (2007) takes exception to the position of Howell et al. (2007a) by instead arguing that interpretational confounding is more a problem of structural misspecification of a model combined with an under-identified model that leaves this misspecification undetected. Thus, Bollen (2007) asserts that interpretational confounding does not occur if the model is correctly specified independent of whether a research has available formative or reflective indicators. Consequently, Bollens (2007) view is that the existence of a latent variable does not depend on the available type of indicator. This makes improbable Howell et al.s (2007a) foundational claim that a latent variable exists apart from the model with reflective indicators, and does not with formative indicators. This is interesting within the context of the current research because the EDM is presented as a formative model in Oliver (2010) with both forms of disconfirmation are identified as unique independent constructs. Cheungs LCM is a reflective model that similarly identifies congruence as an unmeasured, independent construct. However, some of the criticisms of the LCM involve whether the LCM is actually modeling congruence as a unique entity (i.e., that the construct adds information to the conceptualization of operationalizing congruence). Future research should consider investigation this point. References Bollen, K. A. (1989). Structural Equations with Latent Variables. New York: Wiley. Bollen, Kenneth A. (2007), Comments: Interpretational Confounding is Due to Misspecification, Not Type of Indicator: Comment on Howell, Brevik, and Wilcox (2007), Psychological Methods, 12 (2), 219-228.

Cheung (2009a), Introducing the Latent Congruence Model for Improving the Assessment of

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Dr. Tapan K. Panda Professor of Marketing and Director Kotler Srinivasan Center for Excellence in Marketing Great Lakes Institute of Management Studies Chennai, India, ABSTRACT This paper aims to study the relationship between internal marketing and service quality orientation in developing customer satisfaction in stock broking firms in India. There has been a spurt of stock broking firms experiencing unparalleled growth in Indian market in last decade. These firms have provided an alternative source of investment platform for Indian middle class through sales of mutual funds, bonds, fixed deposit products and equities. Do these stock broking firms who spend so much on national television in branding really apply internal marketing principles? What are the various methods and processes followed by them and what opportunities exist in developing internal marketing orientation as a variable in creating external customer satisfaction. Is there a relationship between service quality and internal marketing with external customer satisfaction? Two questionnaires were developed to study above objectives. A total of 296 employees of broking firms and 544 customers of these firms were surveyed over 90 days time. Top ten broking firms ( in terms of turnover) were selected for this study. This study revealed few interesting phenomenon about Indian financial services sector. There is a positive relationship between external customer attitudes towards the organization with internal marketing practices followed by the company. Components measured under internal marketing orientation include human resource management practices, motivation and compensation practice, performance based reward system, positive supervisory culture and service orientation practices of the firm. Study also revealed the sample members positive attitude towards dimensions of service quality. This was measured using RATER ( Responsiveness, Assurance, tangibility, Empathy and Reliability)model. Key Words: Internal Marketing, Service Quality, Customer satisfaction, Consumer Attitude



Bodo Lang, The University of Auckland Business School Keywords: customer satisfaction, word of mouth, service encounter

Customer satisfaction has firmly established itself as a key construct in marketing over the past three decades (Oliver 1980; Anderson and Sullivan 1993; Fornell et al. 1996; Luo and Homburg 2007). The consequences of customer satisfaction are numerous and research into these has been extensive, however, gaps in our knowledge still remain. This paper seeks to explore and clarify the relationship between customer satisfaction and one of its key consequences: word of mouth communication (WOM). Customer satisfaction has emerged as a key antecedent of WOM (Anderson 1998; Babin et al. 2005; de Matos and Rossi 2008; File and Prince 1992), yet the shape of the relationship between satisfaction and the amount of WOM uttered is unclear despite extensive research into this area. Past research supports three conflicting satisfaction WOM relationships: a positivity bias, where high levels of satisfaction result in greater WOM activity than low levels of satisfaction (Cermak, File, and Prince 1991; Holmes and Lett 1977; Swan and Oliver 1989; Wirtz and Chew 2002); a negativity bias, where low levels of satisfaction result in greater WOM activity than high levels of satisfaction (Anderson 1998; Harmon and McKenna-Harmon 1994; Silverman 1997; TARP 1981); and lastly, a symmetric relationship, where high levels and low levels of satisfaction result in similar amounts of WOM (Anderson 1998; Bowman and Narayandas 2001; Christophe and Rime 1997; Derbaix and Vanhamme 2003; Engel, Kegerreis, and Blackwell 1969; Soderlund 1998; Wirtz and Chew 2002).

This paper attempts to reconcile these three conflicting streams of research by applying an innovative, yet underused taxonomy of service encounters (Price, Arnould, and Tierney 1995). This taxonomy uses three dimensions to differentiate between service encounters: the duration of an encounter (brief [less than 10 minutes] versus enduring [10 minutes or more]), the amount of emotional arousal during the encounter (rational versus emotional), and the physical distance between front-line staff and the customer (distant [greater than 36 inches] versus intimate [36 inches or less]). Extending this taxonomy, the paper compares two extreme types of service encounters and their impact on WOM activity: EAI encounters which are Enduring, Affectively charged, and where the distance between staff and the customer can be described as Intimate.

Conversely, BRD encounters, which are a newly developed type of encounter, are Brief, Rational, and the distance between staff and the customer can be described as Distant.

Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted to explore the nature of the satisfaction WOM relationship in different contexts. The final sample consisted of 10 respondents, five male and five female. Table 1 outlines some of the key demographic features of each respondent.
Table 1: Respondent characteristics Respondent 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Initials SJL AC JNTR CMM RB MC DC JB RC BG Gender Female Female Female Female Male Female Male Male Male Male Age 34 32 34 34 30 37 42 41 40 36 Occupation Consultant Mother/home-maker Manager Lawyer Professional Mother/home-maker Educator Freelance journalist Architect Manager

Interviews lasted from 50 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes with the majority of interviews taking around one hour. Interviews were semi-structured and an interview guide was used in each interview (Creswell 2003; Bryman 2004). A variety of question formats, such as openended, closed-ended, summarising, transition and prompting questions were used during the interviews (Corbetta 2003; Tolich and Davidson 1999). Each respondent was asked to describe a number of services that they had experienced. Generally, open questions (Can you give me an example of an experience that you have talked a lot about to others? or What is it about these service experiences that would make you talk so much/so little about them? ) were asked earlier in the interview (Flick 2002). These were followed by theory driven questions (Flick 2002, 81) to provide a more purposeful enquiry (Bryman 2004, 270), for example: Would you have talked more about this if you would have been highly satisfied? All interviews were audio-taped and fully transcribed. Data was coded in hardcopy first and then via software (NVivo). RESULTS Each respondent described a number of service encounters. Descriptions of EAI encounters included a one-on-one dance lesson with an instructor, getting a massage at a wellness studio, or being at the dentist for a check-up. Examples of BRD encounters were a drive-through meal at a fast food restaurant, picking up your car from being serviced, or picking up some clothes from the dry cleaners.


Results from the interviews suggest that the satisfaction WOM relationship does vary across different types of service encounters and that the three taxonomy variables duration, emotional arousal and distance play different roles. The duration of an encounter appears to facilitate a consumers ability to experience extremely high and low levels of satisfaction which in turn is a reason why longer encounters may be more frequently mentioned: Theyre going to annoy you more or its going to compound in its greatness and warmth and niceness (CMM). Importantly, respondents indicated that they would be more inclined to engage in greater WOM about enduring encounters: I think the longer the time you spend with them the more loyal to them youd be and you would want to be able to say good things about them (SJL). Of the three relationship taxonomy variables, physical distance appeared to have the weakest association with WOM behavior. Respondents displayed conflicting trends. Some respondents argued that close physical distance facilitated the development of a relationship which in turn made WOM behavior more likely. Conversely, respondent RC felt physical distance was not a good predictor of WOM activity with the exception of encounters that involved touch: Such encounters may be too personal to share as other consumers, for example, may be weirded out by stories about getting ones back waxed. Of the three relationship variables, affect had the strongest impact on WOM and appeared most important. The relationship between affect and the amount of WOM appeared to be positive, that is high affect is likely to result in extensive WOM, whereas low affect is likely to result in minimal WOM. Furthermore, respondents indicated that EAI and BRD encounters varied in their ability to elicit emotional arousal and that this was a key determinant in how much WOM they would engage in. Importantly, respondents were unlikely to share some highly dissatisfactory EAI encounters with many others due to how this may reflect on them personally, thus verifying a negativity bias. Well, I felt embarrassed and maybe it is one of these stories that You know are awkward how does it come up in conversation? . . . I had this drugged up guy It just takes too much explaining, I think. Its too just a bit too weird. (DC) Conversely, other respondents showed evidence of a positivity bias in their reasoning. I think emotions have a huge play. And I think when youre satisfied with the service, for example, a massage, that triggers your emotion, so that makes you feel good about the service. So I think emotions have a huge part . . . You know, if someone missed a spot of dirt on your car Im not going to go and rave about that. (AC) CONCLUSION In summary, the three relationship variables from the Price et al. (1995) taxonomy appear to vary in their association with WOM activity. While the duration of a service encounter appeared to have some association with WOM activity, physical distance between the service provider and the customer did not. Of the three variables, affect appears to have the strongest relationship with

WOM activity. Importantly, EAI encounters showed some evidence of the positivity bias, whereas some BRD encounters exhibited signs of a negativity bias. These results are consistent with consumers desire for impression management (Chung and Darke 2006; White, Argo, and Dahl 2005) and the self-serving bias from psychology (Sedikides et al. 1998). From an academic perspective, the results underscore the importance of investigating causal relationships across multiple categories to prevent management folklore, such as the oftenquoted statement that dissatisfied customers engage in greater WOM than satisfied customers. This paper casts doubts over such generalizations and suggests that the shape of the satisfaction WOM relationship may depend on the type of service encounter. However, due to the nature of this exploratory study, it is difficult to draw definite conclusions about these relationships. Research in this area would do well to investigate the satisfaction WOM relationship across different service encounters through other research designs (experimental research, for example). Such steps would allow us to further our understanding of two very important constructs in marketing: customer satisfaction and WOM. REFERENCES


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Tamilla Curtis, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Russell Abratt, Nova Southeastern University, Dawna Rhoades, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Paul Dion, Susquehanna University

ABSTRACT Customer loyalty, repurchase, and satisfaction are among the most researched variables in academia and among the most important constructs in practice. However, despite extensive research on those three constructs, their relationships appear to be complex and multidimensional, and, therefore, not well understood. The purpose of the paper is to investigate the relationship between customer loyalty, repurchase/repurchase intent, and satisfaction in order to attempt to resolve the mixed views on these concepts. A quantitative review of three constructs was conducted to identify the strength and direction of the researched relationships and the influence of any moderating factors. The Hunter and Schmidt meta-analytical technique and software were employed mainly to address three general issues: central tendency, variability, and prediction. The first step was to collect studies and to extract information in order to create a database of individual research findings on the relationship between loyalty-satisfaction, repurchasesatisfaction, and loyalty-repurchase. Due to the number of researchers who examined Repurchase Intent separately from Repurchase, the Repurchase-Satisfaction database was further divided into two: Repurchase-Satisfaction and Repurchase Intent-Satisfaction. The second step was to convert the collected statistical information to the same measurement scale. The third step was to conduct the meta-analysis procedure utilizing the Hunter and Schmidt meta-analytical software. Moderator analyses were conducted next to provide additional insights into the research relationships. Moderator analyses were conducted for the geographic area of the collected sample (North America, Europe, and Other); the category (Product and Service); and the business setting (B2B and B2C). Results for both meta-analysis and moderator analyses indicated strong positive relationships between loyalty and satisfaction. The strongest relationship between loyalty and satisfaction appears to be within the "Other geographic region factor (0.60), followed by the "Service" moderator (0.55). The results confirmed the view that satisfied consumers do display loyalty. The repurchase and satisfaction constructs display a complicated relationship. The correlation coefficient for the overall meta-analysis is 0.56. However, the 95% confidence interval and 90% credibility interval include zero, indicating that there is a small likelihood that those constructs are not related at all. The small sample size collected for the meta-analysis resulted in a large standard deviation, which makes the confidence intervals wide enough to include zero. The obtained results for the repurchase-satisfaction relationship confirmed Szymanski and Henards (2001) observation about the failure of satisfaction to explain repurchase behavior. Satisfaction is a multifaceted construct; therefore, some aspects of satisfaction are more predictive of repurchase than others. The meta-analysis and the moderator analyses indicate that repurchase

intent and satisfaction display strong positive relationships. Generally, satisfied customers do show a strong intent to repurchase. The difference between repurchase intent and repurchase and satisfaction relationships could be explained by the large sample size for repurchase/repurchase intent-satisfaction studies that came from the US auto industry, which represents the sale of expensive items (cars). Therefore, consumers actual behavior could be heavily affected by auto deals and rebate offers. Both the meta-analysis and the moderator analyses indicate that loyalty and repurchase/repurchase intent indicate the strongest positive relationship (0.71) of all the relationships studied. These results confirmed the view that loyalty and the repurchase/repurchase intent constructs are positively linked. The study contributes to the growing knowledge of the relationships between loyalty, repurchase, and satisfaction by assessing the current state of the empirical research on those three variables using meta-analysis. This research addresses the existing gap in the literature, and attempts to resolve the existing mixed views on the studied concepts. This research is important to academicians as well as practitioners. Managers need to take into consideration many factors before making a decision where to invest and formulate a marketing strategy: either in creating consumer loyalty, increasing consumer satisfaction, increasing repurchase rate, or all three at the same time. REFERENCES Anderson, Eugene W., Claes Fornell, and Donald R. Lehmann (1994), Customer satisfaction, market share, and profitability: Findings from Sweden, Journal of Marketing, Vol.58 No.3, pp. 53-66. Anderson, Eugene W., and Vikas Mittal (2000), Strengthening the satisfaction-profit chain, Journal of Service Research, Vol.3 No.2, pp. 107-120. Anderson, Eugene W. and Sullivan, Mary W. (1993)*, The antecedents and consequences of customer satisfaction for firms, Marketing Science, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 125-143. Ankem, Kalyani (2005), Approaches to meta-analysis: A guide for LIS researchers, Library and Information Science Research, Vol.27 No.2, pp. 164-176. Ashley, Christy and Sajeev Varki (2009), "Loyalty and its influence on complaining behavior and service recovery satisfaction," Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, Vol. 22, pp. 21-35. Aug, Seigyoung and Michael D. Johnson (2005), Compatibility effects in evaluations of satisfaction and loyalty, Journal of Economic Psychology, Vol. 26, pp. 35-57. Bassi, Francesca and Gianluigi Guido (2006), "Measuring customer satisfaction: from product performance to consumption experience," Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, Vol. 19, pp. 76-88. Bennett, Rebekah and Sharyn Rundle-Thiele (2004), "Consumer satisfaction should not be the only goal," Journal of Services Marketing, Vol.18 No.7, pp. 514-523.

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Dr. Richa Agrawal Assistant Professor Department of Management Studies Indian Institute of Technology Madras Guindy, Chennai. PIN 600036 INDIA Tel: +91-44-22574564 Fax: +91-44-22574552 Mobile: +91-9176010809 Email:

R. Keerthi Research Scholar Department of Management Studies Indian Institute of Technology Madras Guindy, Chennai - 600036 INDIA Mobile: +91-9884194867 Email: ABSTRACT

In any consumption situation where a customer is dissatisfied with a product or service, his or her dissatisfaction may find various behavioral manifestations or expressions (Ferguson and Johnston 2011). Dissatisfied customers may exhibit outrage towards the company (Bechwati and Morrin 2003; Schneider and Bowen 1990), make a silent exit (Hirschman 1970; Stewart 1998), spread negative word of mouth (Richins 1983; Singh 1990), complaint to the company (Singh 1988), register third party complaints (Singh 1989), ignore the issue, or suffer silently (Hirschman 1970). While, most of these behavioral manifestations (excluding perhaps complaint to the company) are not good for the company, the damage caused to the company would vary from behavior to behavior. Behaviors such as - ignoring the issue, silent suffering may not have a strong negative effect on the company but behaviors like third party complaints, outrage etc. may cause serious damage to the company and its business. Behaviors such as - silent exit and negative word of mouth would not only cause the company to lose its current customers but also make it difficult to get new customers, in future. It would indeed be useful for organization to get an understanding of the factors that cause customers to behave differently in a dissatisfying


situation as it would help them to prevent and/or reduce the occurrence of harmful behavioral manifestations. An attempt has been made in the present study to identify and understand the various behavioral manifestations that customers undertake when dissatisfied in any consumption situation; and if these behavioral manifestations are in any way influenced by customers involvement levels. Customers with high involvement levels experiencing dissatisfaction in any consumption situation may be expected to complain to a third party or express outrage (Schneider and Bowen 1990). On the other hand, customers with low involvement levels may be expected to behave quite differently. Involvement which is one of the more important factors that influences customers behavior (Lee 2003) has therefore been included in the present study. An extant review of literature undertaken for the purpose of the present study revealed that a relationship exists between customer dissatisfaction and customers perception of alienation (Hilger and Dahringer 1982). Perceived alienation that may be understood as customers negative feeling towards the firm (and industry as a whole) in a dissatisfying consumption situation (Westbrook 1980); can be expected to mediate the relationship between customer dissatisfaction and behavioral manifestations of the same. Conceptual framework (see Figure 1) capturing the proposed relationships between customer dissatisfaction, perceived alienation, various behaviors and customers involvement is provided with a suggestion to test the inter-variable relationships in future investigations.


Figure 1 Conceptual Model of Customer Involvement & Behavioral Manifestations in Dissatisfying Consumption Situations

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Wayne Koprowski, Dominican University David Aron, Dominican University ABSTRACT Guerrilla consumer behavior, enacted by consumers going beyond normative behavior and resorting to counterproductive, economically harmful, and even illegal behaviors (Koprowski and Aron, 2011), describes a response among customers who have experienced dissatisfaction and resort to acting out, behaving in an irrational, compulsive way (Reber, 1985) against a firm or firm representative. The term guerrilla consumer behavior is meant to evoke the same kind of desperation and use of limited resources as used in the terms guerrilla warfare and even guerrilla marketing. In the face of guerrilla consumer behavior, the impact on the firm is of no small importance. A customer or group of customers, lashing out against a company can have a number of negative effects and substantial costs. These costs include those exacted by consumer retaliation, which have been classified as cost/loss; consumption prevention; voice, exit and betrayal; and boycotting (Huefner, and Hunt, 2000; Funches, Markley, and Davis, 2009). While the tangible stakes can be significant, the wide use of the internet can also spread negative word-of-mouth comments even faster by means of Twitter, blogs, and anti-brand web sites. A firm confronted with guerrilla consumer behavior has a limited number of options available, at least after the behavior has occurred. The protection of the courts, in particular, seems like an appealing avenue to pursue, given that some examples of this kind of behavior may seem to be illegal, at least on the surface. Some of the most common legal recourses available to an attacked firm include allegation of defamation, commercial disparagement, or intentional interference with prospective economic advantage in a lawsuit (Koprowski and Aron, 2011) However, earlier research examined the protections offered to aggrieved firms in the state of Illinois and found surprisingly little remedy available (Koprowski and Aron, 2011). With this in mind, the current study expands upon earlier work in several ways: Legal environments outside of the state of Illinois are examined, specifically, the states of California and New York Recent legal developments regarding SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation ) laws are examined in relation to guerrilla consumer behavior Alternatives for firms outside of the courtroom to plan for, cope with, and recover from guerrilla consumer behavior are discussed.


Summary of Findings There is a dearth of legal solutions available to firms located in Illinois. Is this the case in other states as well? To better understand this question, other states were examined, specifically, New York and California. The reasons for the examination of these three states are straightforward: Illinois is home to the authors of this study, and California and New York join Illinois among the five most populous states in the United States (the other two top-five states, Texas and Florida, offer opportunities for future research). For some general background, Illinois hosts 1.1 million firms, and is one of the nations manufacturing and agricultural leaders. New York is home to 1.9 million firms and has the largest economy in the United States and the second largest in the world featuring a high concentration of financial and service sector firms. California is the most populous of the United States and hosts 3.4 million firms. While Illinois, New York, and California are about as geographically and perhaps culturally distant as three states can be, they are similar in terms of their commercial importance in the United States. They are also similar in the lack of support provided to plaintiff firms seeking redress from guerrilla consumer behavior. Firms seeking redress in the courts have two major categories of response available: litigation and criminal prosecution. Litigation is pursued in response to defamation, commercial disparagement, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and injunction. Criminal prosecution can be pursued by the firm in the face of shoplifting, vandalism, and violence against property or persons. These terms have been defined in early research regarding guerrilla consumer behavior (Koprowski and Aron, 2011). The current research demonstrates that firms in both California and New York who believe that they have been wrongfully disparaged or damaged by allegedly aggrieved consumers have little legal recourse available to them. It has proven difficult to find cases in which an aggrieved plaintiff has been successful in cases of alleged defamation, or tortious interference. This is the same result previously discovered in Illinois. In California defamation cases are numerous, but as in Illinois, it appears that few cases provide a viable remedy to a plaintiff firms allegations of damaging statements by disgruntled consumers. Also like Illinois, there are few reported cases claiming unfair competition. For example, in one California Supreme Court case the plaintiff firm alleged defamation but lost despite an online posting calling the firms management boobs, losers and crooks. One of these attacking messages included the following statement regarding the management team: Lisa has fat thighs, a fake medical degree, and has poor feminine hygiene. (Krinsky v. Doe, 2008). Across the country, the founder and CEO of New York-based Ardor Realty Corp. took a competing firm to court for creating the online blog called Ardor Realty Sucks. Posted on this site were allegedly defamatory statements that Ardors founder was a racist and anti -Semite who mistreated his employees, could not retain real estate agents, failed to pay office bills, beat


up his wife, and used his office space to commit adultery with prostitutes. A New York Court of Appeals dismissed an earlier finding in support of Ardor Reality Corp. (Christakis Shiamili, & c., Appellant, v. The Real Estate Group of New York, Inc., 2011). In the time since the most recent discussion of guerrilla consumer behavior (Koprowski and Aron, 2011), another hindrance to the plaintiff firm has arisen known as anti-SLAPP legislation. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, and this legislation is meant to dissuade businesses from pursuing lawsuits against their critics with the intent to censor, intimidate, and otherwise silence consumers by forcing them to stage a legal defense against the attacking firm (SLAPP Back Transcript, 2010). In fact, a plaintiff using the SLAPP tactic against a critical customer might not even expect to win the suit; instead, this tactic is meant to inflict an expensive burden upon the defendant. Conclusion and Managerial Implications The anti-SLAPP legislation and the general unwillingness of the courts to support plaintiff firms against guerrilla consumer behavior (and other consumer criticism in general) leave few options for an affected firm. Therefore to combat guerrilla consumer behavior we refer back to the seminal work of Hirschman (1970) to offer two recommendations: voice and exit. Consumer voice, in this case complaint management, has become not only an accepted outlet for frustrated consumers (Fornell and Birger, 1988) but has also become a vital source of information for a firm and can even play a role in facilitating service recovery and enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty (McCulloughand Bhadradwaj, 1992). In short, allow the dissatisfied customer a voice, a connection to empowered employees and management, before they pursue the option to go guerrilla and broadcast their dismay throughout the store or across the Internet. Promoting exit behavior, in contrast to voice, can be seen as counterintuitive. Many firms and entire industries, such as mobile phone service provision, rely on long-term contracts, access to consumer bank accounts, and automatic renewals to not only hide the exit doors from consumer but to help the consumers forget that the exits even exist. However, a recent example suggests that easy exit can defuse possible guerrilla consumer behavior. When Netflix recently pursued the strategy of raising prices while splintering into two separate entities, consumer confusion and anger ensued. Facebook, a popular stage for guerrilla consumer behavior, hosted several sites that railed against Netflix ( 8382903) , yet none of these sites inflicted the kind of damage attributed to ordinary online campaigns against United Airlines or BP. In fact, a Facebook page aggressively entitled 1,000,000 people who will not stand for Netflixs new prices garnered support from just over 5,000 people. The current study continues the exploration of guerrilla consumer behavior and the responses available to firm under attack. In an examination of three of the five most populous states in the United States the early indications are that firms have little hope of fighting consumer dissatisfaction which manifests itself as guerrilla consumer behavior in the courts. While there

are still admittedly another 47 states to consider, the outlook in terms of legal protection is not encouraging. In fact, anti-SLAPP laws are a further attempt to level the playing field between David, the consumer, and Goliath, the firm. Firms continue to have, or at least appear to have, ample resources to combat and perhaps intimidate dissatisfied customers into silence. However, Anti-SLAPP laws offer the consumer yet another shield while the Internet, social media, and mobile communications offer an effective array of weaponry. The fundamental approaches to customer satisfaction still offer preemptive and recovery responses to guerrilla consumer behavior. The importance of voice, that is, allowing and responding to complaining behavior, is an accepted approach to relieving consumer dissatisfaction and perhaps gaining even greater loyalty. While encouraging complaining behavior might have once seemed counterintuitive, recent events suggest that an even more surprising approach might help in defusing guerrilla consumer behavior: supporting, allowing, and even encouraging exit behavior. The notion of a business firing its customers is not new. In fact, this notion really just represents a sophisticated kind of marketing in which a firm seeks to maximize its return on customer while propelling poorly-matched customers toward better sources more likely to satisfy their needs. But the example of Netflix, observed during their recent time of controversy, shows that when customers who want to leave can leave without barriers or costs to exit, they will. The importance of anti-SLAPP protection for a threatened consumer cannot be disputed, and in fact, as far away as Kenya, the importance of unfettered consumer voice has been demonstrated to reduce insurance claims and increase highway safety (Habyarimana and Jack, 2009). While the voice of the consumer must not be silenced, protection and recourse for an embattled merchant, damaged by guerrilla consumer behavior, must remain available. REFERENCES Christakis Shiamili, & c., Appellant, v. The Real Estate Group of New York, Inc., et al., Respondents. v., No. 105 - NY Court of Appeals. FindLaw. (n.d.). FindLaw: Cases and Codes. June 14, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2012, from Fornell, Claes and Wernerfelt, Birger (1988). A model for customer complaint management. Marketing Science, 7, 3, pp. 287-298. Funches, V., Markley, M., & Davis, L. (2009). Reprisal, retribution and requital: Investigating customer retaliation. Journal of Business Research, 62(2), 231-238. Habyarimana, Jack and Jack, William (2011). Heckle and Chide: Results of a randomized road safety intervention in Kenya. Journal of Public Economics. Hirschman, A. O. (1970). Exit, voice, and loyalty; responses to decline in firms, organizations, and states. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.


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SLAPP Back Transcript - On The Media. (n.d.). Home - On The Media. Retrieved April 2, 2012, from Additional references available upon request.


Dinh Thi Thanh Van Faculty of Finance and Banking College of Economics and Business Vietnam National University, Hanoi P302, E4 Building 114 Xuan Thuy Street, Cau Giay District Hanoi, Vietnam Tel: 84 904 641 686 Email: ABSTRACT The present study focused on examining the interrelationship between service quality dimensions (tangible, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy), and investigating the correlation between perceived service quality and customer satisfaction in the retail banking sector in Vietnam. The predictor variables (independent variables) for this research were the aforementioned service quality dimensions. The outcome variable (dependent variable) was the overall customer satisfaction. This study was intended to help bank leaders to evaluate and improve the service quality of retail banking services to exist in the context of financial liberalization and globalization. Key words: customer satisfaction, service quality, service marketing, retail banking Introduction Vietnams banking sector is expected to have one of the highest growth rates in Asia during the next few years due to the countrys continued economic expansion, rising household incomes, and relatively low penetration of existing banking services. Over the past two decades, the Vietnamese government has undertaken a series of reforms to strengthen and modernize the sector as part of the countrys move towards a more open and market oriented economy. In recent years, rapid economic growth has improved the household income and demand for retail banking services. Credit and debit card use has become more common, with the number of cards issued doubling between 2008 and 2010 to 28.5 million. The number of automated teller machines (ATMs) has also increased dramatically, rising from 1,800 in 2005 to 11,000 as of December 2010 (SBV, 2011). However, the retail banking sector is still in its infancy (BMI, 2011; SBV, 2011). As of December 2010, an estimated 23% of Vietnams population of approximately 90 million people had bank accounts and around half of those with accounts actively used consumer banking services (Ho & Baxter, 2011). One of the main concerns for the underdeveloped banking industry in Vietnam is the inadequate service quality in the retail sector (BMI, 2011; SBV, 2011). Service quality assessment is an important leadership task needed to achieve organizational success (Glaveli, Petridou, Liassides & Spathis, 2006). Cronin and Taylor (1992) described five dimensions (tangible, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy) that constitute customer expectations of service. The specific problem addressed in

this study is the quality of retail banking services in Vietnam need improvement to increase customer satisfaction. The possible relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction in the retail-banking sector in Vietnam should be examined to find the solutions to the problem. In addition, researching about service quality and customer satisfaction is important for both domestic and foreign banks in the Vietnamese competitive market (Oh, 2009; SBV, 2011). In the past, foreign banks in Vietnam have been limited due to a geographical restriction of the government, which allowed a single branch per city. Since 2007 upon Vietnams accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), this number has increased with the presence of many foreign banks. Some foreign banks namely Australia and New Zealand Bank, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, United Oversea Bank, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation have strategies entering the market by becoming strategic partners with domestic banks. Currently, domestic banks have around 90% share of the retail market in Vietnam (SBV, 2011). However, foreign banks are fast becoming strong competitors in the banking retail market by providing services with high technologies, which domestic banks do not have. Foreign banks currently can provide the full range of banking services, which only domestic banks previously have. Consequently, the competitiveness in the banking sector is rising. Survival issues will force bank managers to find solutions to improve their service quality and customer satisfaction. Literature Review The literature conceptualizes service quality as the gap between delivered and expected service performance. Customers perceive the relative inferiority or superiority of services by comparing a firm's actual performance with their expectations. The gap between perception and expectation is perceived service quality (Beerli, Martin, & Quintana, 2005; Parasuraman et al., 1991). Customers are more concerned about their money value and have higher expectations from service providers nowadays. If customers perceive that service quality is unsatisfactory, they will not hesitate to switch over business elsewhere (Hossain & Leo, 2009; Uppal & Mishra, 2011). In addition, modern technology increases market transparency, which enables competitors to provide similar or improved versions of any new products (Granados, 2005). Banking industry like many other service industries is facing demanding customers, fierce competition, new technologies, and other changing economic variables (Jham & Khan, 2008). Therefore, it is imperative for banks to achieve customer satisfaction by service excellence. In fact, many research has been done on service quality and customer satisfaction in the banking industry in particular country (Gournaris et al., 2003; Cui et al, 2003; Duncan & Elliott , 2004; Beerli et al., 2004; Jabnoun & Khalifa, 2005; Ibrahim et al, 2006; Lopez et al., 2007; Gou et al., 2008; Kumar et al., 2009; Poolthong & Mandhachitara, 2009; Ravichandran et al., 2010). Other research compared the differences in the perceptions of customers about the quality of bank services in two or more countries (Lasser et al., 2000; Yavas & Benkenstein, 2007; Dash et al., 2009). Initial research in defining and measuring service quality and customer satisfaction was established in the mid-eighties by Gronroos et a. (1984) and Parasuraman et al. (1985). Gronroos et al. and Parasuraman et al. were the earliest researchers to point out that quality

prevalent in the goods sector is not extendable to the services sector. Because of intangible characteristics exist in service, quality in the service context is difficult to measure and evaluate (Parasuraman et al., 1991). Various measuring models have been developed for measuring perceptions of service quality (Gronroos, 1983; Parasuraman et al., 1991; Cronin and Taylor, 1992; Stafford, 1996; Bahia & Nantel, 2000; Aldligan & Buttle, 2002; Tsoukatos & Mastrojianni, 2010 as quoted in Munusama et al., 2010). However, the most widely used models in measuring quality in the service industry and customer satisfaction in general and in the banking sector in particular was the SERVQUAL of Parasuraman et al. and the SERVPERF of Cronin and Taylor. This study applied SERVPERF model to examine the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction. Research Objectives There was seldom seen a work that has been performed on service quality and customer satisfaction in the retail banking sector in Vietnam. This study involved testing the correlation within five dimensions of service quality suggested by Cronin and Taylor (1992) in a specific industry (banking) and population (Vietnam). The relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction was examined to assess the consistence of the previous studies in the Vietnamese market context. The present study provided original contributions to fill two main knowledge gaps. First, the study contributed to current and future research by comparing and contrasting related literature. Findings of the study provided evidence supporting the results in previous literature such as Hanzaee and Salehi (2011), Munusamy and Mun (2010), Ozdemir and Hewett (2010), Ravichandran et al, (2010). Second, the study provided a practical application to measure service quality within retail banking services in Vietnam. The study planned to impact the success of the growing retail banking sector in a transition economy through analyzing customer reactions to the service quality by examining their levels of satisfaction with specific service quality dimensions. The study served as guidelines for the policymakers and bank leaders of banks in Vietnam in order to improve their service quality and customer satisfaction. Research Design and Questions The design of the research was to examine the inter-relationship within five service quality dimensions. In addition, the study design attempted to determine whether service quality dimensions have an association with the overall customer satisfaction. These objectives were entailed in two research questions need to be answered as follows: RQ1. To what extent, if any, is there a significant relationship between the dimensions of service quality among retail banking customers in Vietnam? RQ2. To what extent, if any, is there a significant relationship between the perceived service quality and customer satisfaction among retail banking customers in Vietnam? In order to answer two research questions, a quantitative research method with a correlational design that made use of a survey was appropriate for the study. The SERVEPERF model developed by Cronin and Taylor (1992) served as the foundation of the survey instrument to examine the problem of service quality. This model measures service quality by using the

perceptions of customers through five quality dimensions, which were demonstrated through 22 survey items. Five service quality dimensions or attributes, which are tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy are used to measure perceived service quality in banks. A survey instrument using a 7-point Likert-type format in two languages (Vietnamese and English) with was designed to collect participant perceptions to conduct statistical comparison. Participants were recruited from current retail banking customers from banks in Vietnam. Participants were recruited to complete the survey during their visit to bank branches and automated teller machine (ATM) locations and through an online survey. The study included the use of both quota sampling and convenience sampling procedures to collect data from 394 participants to achieve a significant sample size to remain at a 3% sampling error rate and a power criterion of .80 for effect size of .20 at an alpha level of 5% (Creswell, 2008).

Sample Data Analysis and Findings The data was analyzed in different sections: reliability and validity, descriptive analysis, factor analysis, correlation, and multiple regression. Reliability in a study focused on whether the research method and design were accurate (Cooper & Schindler, 2008). Validity is concerned with how well the survey questions measure what they are intended to measure. Descriptive statistics are regularly used and reviewed from hard copy and during analysis to examine the variables being used. Factor analysis is used with two purposes. First, the researcher wanted to reduce a large number of variables to a smaller number of factors for modeling and research objectives, where the large number of variables precludes modeling all the measures individually. Second, the researcher expected to validate a measure for perceived service quality, which was adjusted from SERVPERF model by Cronin and Taylor (1992) to fit with the banking market in Vietnam. Correlation analysis using Pearson test was employed to examine the association between service quality dimensions. Finally, multiple regression analysis was used in an attempt to demonstrate the impact of five service quality dimensions in explaining overall satisfaction of customers in retail banking sector in Vietnam. Reliability and Validity. The researcher started the data analysis with examining the reliability and validity of the sample data. The Cronbachs alpha coefficients for the study variables ranged between .896 and .906, while the overall scale was .903. These high Cronbachs alpha coefficients indicated that each construct has a high internal consistency among the items measuring the constructs (See Table 1). The scale validity in measuring customer perception of service quality was observed and ensured in Hanzaee and Salehi (2011), Ravichandan et al. (2010), Siddiqui (2010). The pilot study, which was designed to test the survey instrument, also confirmed the face validity of the survey questions to measure customer perceptions of the retail banking services in Vietnam. In order to reduce within 22 survey items of quality dimension to a smaller number of factors for modeling and to validate the SERVPERF model in the Vietnamese market, the researcher employed both exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). In CFA, the research approached structural equation modeling (SEM) by AMOS 18. SEM is used to explore CFA measurement model. All 22 items were factor analyzed using the Varimax method with 0.6 loading cut-off point, resulting in five factors totaling 16 items. Five factors together

contributed to 72% effect on customer satisfaction (see Table 2). From the previous EFA analysis, the final SEM model extracted from AMOS 18 software included 16 items in five service quality dimensions and the overall customer satisfaction. The results of the confirmatory factor analysis in Figure 1 demonstrated a good model fit to the data on the basis of a fit statistic (2= 162.28, df = 105, GFI = .974, CFI = .981, RMSEA = .037). The current study seemed to provide a significant contribution to the literature by confirming the findings of other researchers (Hanzee & Salehi, 2011; Lin & Hsieh, 2006; Olaleke, 2010; Taylor & Cronin, 1992) in a different population (Vietnam) based on a specific industry (banking). The structural equations model appeared to confirm the importance of customer satisfaction in retail banking services in a sequential discussion in Figure 12. The straight line with one arrow head presented that service quality dimensions were antecedents of customer satisfaction. As bank leaders invest in retail banking services and expect customers to continue using them and refer their friends, bank leaders may have to provide quality services first to attain customer satisfaction. Descriptive Data Analysis. The present model included five service quality dimensions: tangible, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. Descriptive statistics on service quality dimensions showed that reliability had a highest mean and lower standard deviation (M = 5.44, SD = .91). Responsiveness dimension was perceived lowest (M = 4.94, SD = .85). All service quality dimensions in Table 3 were perceived higher than average with mean values were more than 4 (neutral). Customer satisfaction is the degree to which a customer believes that the use of a service evokes positive feelings (Rust & Oliver, 1994). Table 4 showed that 328 (83.20%) respondents have positive response with the survey item, In overall, I am very satisfied with this bank. Approximately 66 (16.8 %) respondents did not agree and were neutral with survey item, In overall, I am very satisfied with the bank. The present study appeared to indicate high satisfaction among respondents toward retail banking services offered by banks in Vietnam. This findings is questionable with the study problem statement that one of the main concerns for the underdeveloped banking industry in Vietnam is the inadequate service quality in the retail sector (BMI, 2011; SBV, 2011). However, these findings seemed to add significance to the conclusions. Correlation Analysis. The interrelationship within perceived service quality dimensions in the study were also investigated through correlation analysis. This section involved with answers to Research Question 1. The hypothesis for Research Question 1 was formulated to determine if there will be significant differences in customer perception within particular service quality dimensions, as measured by SERVPERF model. These dimensions include assurance, reliability, tangibles, empathy, and responsiveness. Pearsons correlation analysis was used to test the hypothesis. H10: There is no statistically significant correlation between dimensions of the perceived service quality among retail banking customers in Vietnam. H1A: There is statistically significant correlation between dimensions of the perceived service quality among retail banking customers in Vietnam.


All correlations were found to be statistically significant (p < .001; two tailed) with positive linear associations among the five independent variables in Table 5. Ten inter-relationships existed between the five dimensions of service quality ranging between .253 (tangible and assurance) and .475 (reliability and assurance). The moderate relationships included between tangible and reliability, tangible and empathy, reliability and responsiveness, reliability and empathy, responsiveness and assurance, assurance and reliability, assurance and empathy with correlation coefficient r > .35. Correlation analysis confirmed that all five service quality dimensions were significantly related. The hypothesis H10 was rejected at alpha level of .05. It was concluded that there was statistically significant correlation between dimensions of the perceived service quality among retail banking customers in Vietnam. Multiple regression analysis. Multiple regression analysis was utilized to investigate the relationship between service quality dimensions (independent variables) and customer satisfaction (dependent variable). answered the research question 2. The hypothesis for research question 2 was designed to assess the relationships between the overall customer satisfaction and service quality dimensions. H20: There is no statistically significant correlation between overall satisfaction and perceived service quality among retail banking customers in Vietnam. H2A: There is statistically significant correlation between overall satisfaction and the perceived service quality among retail banking customers in Vietnam. The current study showed that 328 (83.20%) respondents have positive response with the survey item, In overall, I am very satisfied with this bank. Approximately 66 (16.8 %) respondents did not agree and were neutral with survey item, In overall, I am very satisfied with the bank. The present study appeared to indicate high satisfaction among respondents toward retail banking services offered by banks in Vietnam. Each of the five service quality dimensions had a significant positive bivariate correlation in the study. The values of univariate correlation (r) between overall satisfaction and five service quality dimensions (tangible, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy) were .411, .507, .318, .336, and .514 respectively in Table 6. The findings in Table 7 confirmed a significant model that explained 38,6 % of the variance in satisfaction in terms of tangible, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. This means that 61.4% of overall satisfaction cannot be explained by service quality dimensions. Furthermore, the study involved evaluating a multiple regression model in an attempt to predict customer satisfaction in terms of service quality dimensions in a combined model (see Table 8). The regression equation was formed as follows: Overall satisfactioni = 1.196 + (.150x tangiblei + .276 x reliabilityi + .080 x responsivenessi + .048 x assurancei + .255 x empathyi ) The current study contains empirical evidence to support a significant positive linear relationship between service quality dimensions associated with customer satisfaction . The hypothesis H20 was rejected. It was concluded that there was statistically significant correlation between overall satisfaction and the perceived service quality among retail banking customers in Vietnam. Though all of the five dimensions were significant determinants of customer satisfaction in

banks in Vietnam, reliability and empathy were among the most important factors. Recommendations As labor costs continue to increase, increasing service quality offer obvious cost benefits to the banking industry in Vietnam. Literature indicated a high correlation between customer satisfaction and profitability (Anderson et al., 1994; Wan et al., 2004). Bank leaders need to leverage factors associated with customer satisfaction to increase profitability. The use of retail banking services offers cost benefits that can also contribute to banks profitability. For bank leaders to effectively achieve profitability, they need to continuously improve all service quality dimensions discussed in the present study, namely, tangible, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. More specifically, bank leaders can predict customer satisfaction based on tangible, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy dimensions, which together explained 38.6% of customer satisfaction. On the other hand, the findings of the study can help practitioners and business leaders prioritize service quality dimensions when implementing development plans to improve retail banking services. The findings of the study can significantly improve quality development plans such as failure modes and effects analysis, total quality management, or quality by design. The current study showed that all service quality dimensions were positively correlated to customer satisfaction. However, reliability and empathy ranked higher than other dimensions with a significant contribution of .28 and . 26 in the multiple regression model. Bank leaders might need to consider service reliability when setting up development plans for retail banking services. Employee and customer interactions are reflected through the empathy dimension (Siddiqui, 2010). Therefore, bank leaders in Vietnam should be well advised to emphasize the employee training programs so that they can offer personalized service to customers. Bank leaders might focus on providing more control and personalization to employees and increasing their office hours and ATM network coverage to capture customer interests in their offerings. This result explained that 61.4% of overall satisfaction cannot be explained by service quality dimensions but from other aspects. Future research should discover other factors affecting customer satisfaction in the retail banking sector in Vietnam. For instance, future research should perceive other factors such as, pricing programs, levels of market standardization, or cultural preferences. In addition, the present study involved examining service quality dimensions associated with overall satisfaction of current retail banking customers. However, the study did not examine dimensions associated with customer loyalty and customer acquisition. High customer satisfaction is important in maintaining a loyal customer base (Siddiqui, 2010). Customer loyalty relates to what customers think and do with the future with the services. Customer acquisition is concerned with increasing market share and recruiting new customers. Two concepts are subjects beyond the scope of the study. Additional research into customer loyalty and customer acquisition would probably provide more insights into service quality and customer satisfaction in the retail banking sector in Vietnam. Future research might leverage the findings of the current study in light of those found by Cronin and Taylor (1992) to enhance the survey instrument and provide additional thoughts toward

understanding consumer behavior toward services, whether in banking or any other industry, and in Vietnam or any other country. The current model appeared to fit previous findings in the United State, but future researchers might replicate the service quality model in retail banking services in other countries to check if the findings match. As retail banking services continues to develop, there might also be a need to reinvestigate these findings in the future. Future research may also involve investigating how cultural differences might influence customer perceptions of service quality. A future concern is the potential of other alternative methods of service quality measurement in the research context of interest here. Banking services in Vietnam are not as sophisticated as those in North America or other developed countries. Vietnamese customers have just begun recognizing the benefits of improved banking service quality. However, their demand for service dimensions is still very limited, and their tolerance for poor service quality appears to be high. They seem to be more concerned with the process of delivery rather than the outcomes of service, which indicated high results in five service quality dimensions in the present study. Future research may need to focus on comparisons of SERVPERF with other more extended methods such as BSQ (Bahia & Nantel, 2000), SYSTRA-SQ (Aldlaigan & Buttle, 2002), or BANQUAL-R (Tsoukatos & Mastrojianni, 2010). A focus on broad service dimensions tends to be beneficial for bank managers in the long run. It allows identification and response to customers priority problem areas and other service demands. Summary The main objectives of the present study were to assess the service quality dimensions (tangible, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy) and to examine the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction in the retail banking sector in Vietnam. The data indicated that both customer demographic identity and bank characteristics were significantly related to perceived service quality (p < .05). In addition, the findings confirmed that five quality dimensions were significantly interrelated. Finally, service quality were found to be positively correlated and explained 38.6% of customer satisfaction in the retail banking sector in Vietnam. The findings of the study can help practitioners and business leaders prioritize service quality dimensions when implementing development plans to improve the retail banking services. In addition, research indicated that service quality and customer satisfaction correlates with profitability (Anderson et al., 1994, Wan et al., 2004), loyalty (Fornell, 1992), and positive customer behavior intention (Zeithaml et al., 1996). The leadership of bank leaders in Vietnam might benefit from the study findings and might increase profitability through increasing customer satisfaction and service quality.

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Table 2 Cronbachs Alpha Measurements Cronbach's Alpha if Item Deleted .898 .897 .900 .897 .896 .899 .898 .899 .898 .902 .906 .901 .900 .901 .898 .901 .897 .901 .901 .898 .898 .899 .897 Cronbach's Alpha .903

Name of Items 1. Has up-to-date equipments 2 . Should do as promised 3 . Should tell when services will be performed 4 . Employees who are trustworthy 5 . Individual attention to customers 6 . Appealing physical facilities 7 . Interest in solving customer problems 8 . Prompt service to customers 9 . Customers feel safe in transactions 10 . Convenient operating hours 11 . Neat appearing employees 12 . Perform service right the first time 13 . Always willing to help customer 14 . Consistently courteous with customers 15 . Employees give personal assistance 16 . Visually appealing service materials 17 . Provide service at times promised 18 . Never too busy to respond to request 19 . Knowledgeable 20 . Have customer best interest at heart 21 . Insist on error free records 22 . Understand customer specific needs 23. In overall, I am very satisfied with this bank

Scale Mean if Item Deleted 113.61 113.51 113.97 113.96 113.94 113.77 113.44 113.82 113.94 113.85 113.63 113.64 113.96 113.55 113.86 113.71 113.49 114.00 113.90 113.84 113.51 113.89 113.54


Table 2 Rotated Component Matrixa Items 6 . Appealing physical facilities 10 . Convenient operating hours Reliability 2 . Should do as promised 7 . Interest in solving customer problems 17 . Provide service at times promised 21 . Insist on error free records Responsiveness 3 . Should tell when services will be performed 13 . Always willing to help customer 18 . Never too busy to respond to request Assurance 4 . Employees who are trustworthy 9 . Customers feel safe in transactions 19 . Knowledgeable Empathy 5 . Individual attention to customers 15 . Employees give personal assistance 20 . Have customer best interest at heart 22 . Understand customer specific needs .826 .743 .704 .781 .809 .815 .850 .820 .770 .789 .806 .816 .829 .727 Component Loading 2 3 4

Dimensions Tangible

5 .781 .879


Figure 1: SEM model


.41 .64





Chi-square= 162.286; df= 105; P = .000 Chi-square/df = 1.546 TLI = .975; CFI = .981 RMSEA = .037

e2 e7 e12 e21

Q2 Q7 Q17 Q21

.51 .65 .61 .81 .78

.84 .72




.28 .39 .33 .39

e3 e13 e18

Q3 Q13 Q18

.58 .33 .76 .58





Overall Satisfaction
.55 .56 .01

e4 e9 e19

Q4 Q9 Q19

.63 .49 .70

.92 .79


.36 .25

e5 e15 e20 e22

Q5 Q15 Q20 Q22

.44 .47 .44 .53 .66 .73 .89 .69


Table 3: Descriptive Data of Service Quality Dimensions N Statistic Tangible Reliability Responsiveness Assurance Empathy Valid N (listwise) 394 394 394 394 394 394 Min Statistic 2.00 2.75 2.67 2.00 2.00 Max Statistic 7.00 7.00 7.00 7.00 7.00 Statistic 5.1117 5.4365 4.9442 4.9915 5.0431 M SE .05064 .04597 .04280 .05320 .04968 SD Statistic 1.00519 .91258 .84958 1.05593 .98609


Table 4 Descriptive Statistics of Overall Satisfaction Valid Frequency Valid Disagree Indifferent Agree Moderately Agree Strongly Agree Total 9 57 139 151 38 394 Percent 2.3 14.5 35.3 38.3 9.6 100.0 Percent 2.3 14.5 35.3 38.3 9.6 100.0 Cumulative Percent 2.3 16.8 52.0 90.4 100.0

Table 5 Correlations between Service Quality Dimensions Tangible Reliability Responsiveness Assurance Empathy 1 .365** 1 .262** .351** 1 ** ** .253 .387 .431** 1 .429** .475** .306** .381** 1

Tangible Reliability Responsiveness Assurance Empathy

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

Table 6: Correlation between Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction Tangible Reliability Responsiveness Assurance Empathy .411 .507 .318 .336 .514

Overall Satisfaction

Table 7 Multiple Regression Model Summary Change Statistics SE of the R F Sig. F Estimate Change Change df1 df2 Change .731 .386 48.762 5 388 .000

Model 1 R .621a R .386


DurbinWatson 1.967


Table 8

Collinearity Diagnosticsa Model Unstandardized Coefficients B 1 (Constant) Tangible Reliability Responsiveness Assurance Empathy 1.196 .150 .276 .080 .048 .255 SE .289 .042 .049 .050 .041 .046 .163 .271 .074 .055 .272 Standardized Coefficients Beta T 4.146 3.592 5.647 1.618 1.171 5.564 Sig. .000 .000 .000 .017 .042 .000 .773 .685 .761 .721 .664 1.294 1.461 1.315 1.388 1.506 Collinearity Statistics Tolerance VIF



Pratibha A. Dabholkar, Department of Marketing & Logistics University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996 Xiaojing Sheng, Department of Marketing University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

ABSTRACT Online product recommendation agents (hereafter RAs) are based on software technology designed to understand consumers product preferences by eliciting inputs from consumers and make product recommendations accordingly (Xiao and Benbasat 2007). RAs potentially provide important benefits to consumers who shop online or simply search for product information on the Internet. E-tailers such as Amazon and eBay have made RAs readily available for consumers to use on their websites. But do consumers trust RAs recommendations and actually incorporate those recommendations into their product choice decisions? This research intends to answer these questions. A conceptual framework that links consumer participation in using RAs, trust, and behavioral intentions is proposed by drawing upon the consumer participation literature (e.g., Ouschan, Johnson, and Sweeney 2006) and the trust literature (e.g., Doney and Cannon 1997) as they relate to the current research context. Specifically, it is proposed that a higher level of consumer participation in using an RA will lead to greater trust in the RA, the RAs website, and the RAs product recommendations which in turn, will lead to greater intention to reuse the RA, the RAs website, and purchase the recommended product. Moreover, a trust transference process is proposed to take place between trust in the RA, trust in the RAs website, and trust in the RAs recommendations. A scenario-based experimental design was employed to test the proposed framework with two studies. In both studies, research participants were instructed to read a scenario and then directed to use either the website of (low participation with RA) or that of (high participation with RA). The aim was to search for product information related to a simulated purchase for a laptop computer or a digital camera. Sixty-eight undergraduate students from a southeastern university in the U.S. participated in study 1 in exchange for extra course credit. An online survey firm was hired to recruit research participants for study 2 from a broader demographic. One hundred and fifty-four people participated in study 2 and were paid for their involvement. For study 1, given the constraint of small sample size, measure validity was assessed by using exploratory factor analysis and by examining correlations among constructs as well as Cronbachs alpha value. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to assess measure validity for


study 2. After establishing measure validity, hypothesis testing was conducted by using independent samples t-tests and regressions for study 1 and structural equations modeling for study 2. Results from both studies showed support for the proposed framework. Consumer participation in using an RA had a positive effect on consumer trust in the RA, the RAs website, and the RAs recommendations. The three trust constructs were found to have positive effects on consumers intentions to purchase the recommended product and to return to the RAs website and reuse the RA. Finally, the trust transference process was also supported, whereby trust in the RAs website led to greater trust in the RA and greater trust in the RAs recommendations and in turn, trust in the RA led to greater trust in the RAs recommendations. This research contributes to the extant literature on RAs by presenting a fuller picture of the important role of trust in consumers using RAs through identifying two other trust constructs, i.e., trust in the RAs website and trust in the RAs product recommendations. Another contribution is that consumer participation in using RAs was found to be a factor that builds trust. A third contribution is that the trust transference process was empirically tested and supported within the context of using RAs online, thus extending previous findings (e.g., Stewart 2003; Wood et al., 2008) to a new research context. Findings from the current research have managerial implications as well. For example, given that consumer participation was found to have a positive impact on trust, marketers should encourage consumers to participate more when using RAs by asking them more relevant questions, by allowing them to ask questions, and by building in more room for consumers to participate when designing the RAs. REFERENCES Doney, Patricia M. and Joseph P. Cannon (1997), An Examination of the Nature of Trust in Buyer-Seller Relationships, Journal of Marketing, 61 (2), 35-51. Ouschan, Robyn and Jillian Johnson Lester Sweeney (2006), Customer Empowerment and Relationship Outcomes in Healthcare Consultations, European Journal of Marketing, 40 (9/10), 1068-1086. Stewart, Katherine J. (2003), Trust Transfer on the World Wide Web, Organization Science, 14 (1), 5-17. Wood, John Andy, James S. Boles, and Barry J. Babin (2008), The Formation of Buyers Trust of the Seller in an Initial Sales Encounter, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 16 (1), 27-39. Xiao, Bo and Izak Benbasat (2007), E-Commerce Product Recommendation Agents: Use, Characteristics, and Impact, MIS Quarterly, 31(1), 137-209.


Erdener Kaynak, Ph.D.; D.Sc. Professor of Marketing and Chair School of Business Administration Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg 777 West Harrisburg Pike Middletown, Pennsylvania 17057 Tel: 1-717-948-6343 Fax: 1-717-948-6456 E-mail: Clement S.F. Chow, DBA Associate Professor of Marketing Faculty of Business Administration University of Macau Tapia MACAU, SAR PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA Tel: (852) 9467 8655 or (853) 6625 4839 E-mail: Jason Z. Xie Officer, Finance Department Companhia de Telecomunicaoes de Macau S.A.R.L. MACAU, SAR PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA

EXTENDED ABSTRACT A slotting allowance is a sum of money offered by the upstream channel member (e.g., the manufacturer or wholesaler) to a retailer for the right to place new products on the shelves of the retailers outlets. Until the mid-1980s this had not been a common practice but since then it has become increasingly popular, especially in the case of grocery stores, in some cases to the extent that if no such payment is made a manufacturers products will never be seen by consumers shopping at those grocery stores. An early concern about slotting allowance was discussed in an article in a trade publication (Freeman and Meyers, 1987) showing manufacturers doubts about the purpose of such fees. Cannon and Bloom (1991) further suggested that slotting allowances in U.S. appeared to violate the Robinson-Patman Act, Section 2(d). Since then it has been a very controversial topic: some scholars have suggested that the slotting allowance makes business transactions more efficient because of the distribution efficiency it creates; in contrast, others have asserted that it impairs efficiency because of its anti-competitive nature. In practice,

manufacturers tend to support the efficiency-impairing argument whereas retailers tend to support the efficiency-enhancing argument. This is not surprising since it is the manufacturers who have to pay the incentive and the retailers who make extra income. However, this is not always the case: interestingly, some manufacturers who can afford the slotting allowance are satisfied with it because it can drive the products of their competitors who cannot afford it off the shelves of the retailers. However controversial it is, a literature review shows that studies on slotting allowances are mainly confined to the U.S. (or Western) marketplace only. Other marketplaces, such as China where slotting allowance has already been practiced extensively in the case of grocery stores, lack such studies. Therefore, this study aims to investigate how the controversy on slotting allowance that has arisen in the U.S. is manifested in the China market. Specifically, we attempt to explore how satisfied, or dissatisfied, the major players in the China grocery market are with slotting allowance. We successfully collected the opinions from one large manufacturer, CocaCola, and one large retailer, Carrefour, which are considered to be fairly representative of the large manufacturer group and large retailer group respectively, through 14 individual in-depth interviews. As it is a preliminary study, if not the first of its kind in China, the research is exploratory in nature and therefore a qualitative approach is adopted for data collection. In the U.S. context, the slotting allowance is a very controversial topic and opinions of manufacturers and retailers vary considerably. Therefore, in the Chinese context we start this area of interest by exploring what are deep inside the minds of the Chinese managers of a large manufacturer and a larger retailer. They are Cola-Cola and Carrefour respectively. We chose such large companies with the hope and expectation of achieving external validity because CocaCola and Carrefour are at least to some degree representative of large manufacturers and retailers, respectively. The research method we adopted is in-depth interviews. We conducted 14 separate one-on-one interviews with seven employees from Coca-Cola and seven employees from Carrefour. The positions of the seven interviewees from Coca-Cola ranged from sales representative to director of their marketing department and channel department at their Zhuhai office. The shortest interview lasted for 45 minutes while the longest lasted for 60 minutes. The seven interviewees from Carrefour are all managers and assistant managers in their beverage department and procurement department at their Chongqing office. The shortest interview lasted for 30 minutes while the longest lasted for 60 minutes. To create an environment for the interviewees to voice their opinions freely, we asked them to speak on their own behalf (personal opinion) and not on behalf of their companies. This was also the only way to achieve the interviews, and should not have created bias sufficient to invalidate our results. As all of the interviewees were Chinese, interviews were conducted in Putonghua so that they could freely express their opinions. Since the interviewees considered that the topic is very controversial and therefore sensitive, neither audio nor video taping was allowed. So the interviewer wrote down on paper as much as he could during the interview. The interviews were all semi-structured; some planned questions were asked at different intervals whenever appropriate. In some of the longer interviews, the majority of the time was spent on a free conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee. The interview content thus recorded was then translated into English.


The findings suggest that, in general, the retailer interviewees indicated more satisfaction points than dissatisfaction points but the manufacturer interviewees mentioned more points of dissatisfaction than satisfaction in slotting allowance. This seems to agree with the U.S. findings. However, when we take a closer look at their specific points of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, we found very different perspectives compared to their U.S. counterparts. Having done a detailed analysis on the different perspectives, we attribute the differences to the following cultural factors: 1) Different scores of U.S. versus China on power distance in Hofstede's cultural dimensions (Hofstede, 1983), 2) The Confucian culture of the Chinese and 3) the guanxi business environment in China. For instance, as indicated by our literature review, manufacturers should think that a slotting allowance will at least to certain extent damage channel relationships, but the retailer should think the contrary (Bloom et al, 2000). This study shows a surprisingly different result not only the retailer but also the manufacturer consider that slotting allowance will not damage the channel relationship but in fact will enhance communication and in turn the relationship. So, in terms of channel relationship, no party shows dissatisfaction with slotting allowance. The different result may be explained by one of Hofstede's cultural dimensions, power distance (Hofstede, 1983). Chinese society has a high PDI (i.e., Power Distance Index): China has an index of 80, as compared to 40 for the U.S. and the average of 55 (Itim International, 2011). In a high power distance society, less powerful members of institutions and organizations expect and accept that power is distributed unequally. In our study, the manufacturer and the retailer both agreed that retailers have higher channel power over manufacturers in practice, and this, combined with their higher power distance index, both parties accept as a reality. Hence, it is not surprising to see that manufacturers in the China market accept the unequal distribution of power. A slotting allowance, according to the interviewees responses to other questions, is a result of power inequality. When they accept the power inequality, they accept its results. The concept of slotting allowance is accepted by the manufacturers and, when it is executed, no relationship will be damaged. Therefore, as far as channel relationship is concerned, slotting allowance causes no dissatisfaction among the large manufactures and retailers. This is quite different from the U.S. findings. Other satisfaction and dissatisfaction points departing from the U.S. findings will also be discussed. Through this study, the large manufacturers and retailers in the China grocery market can better understand the thinking of their counterparts towards the issue of slotting allowance, and this enhances their communications and reduces their channel conflict. However, the sample is only representative of large manufacturers and retailers to a limited extent, and since it is a qualitative study, the data are exploratory and not conclusive in nature. Future research can make good use of the qualitative data provided by this study to develop a large-scale quantitative survey to conclude the various satisfaction and dissatisfaction points of the manufacturers and retailers in the China grocery market in general.

REFERENCES Bloom, P.N., Gundlach, G.T. and Cannon J.P. (2000), Slotting Allowances and Fees: Schools of Thought and the Views of Practicing Managers, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 64 April, pp. 92108.

Cannon, J.P. and Bloom, P.N. (1991), Are Slotting Allowance Legal Under The Antitrust Laws?, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Vol. 10 No. 1 Spring, pp. 167-186. Freeman, L. and Meyers, J. (1987), Grocer Fee Hampers New -Product Launches, Advertising Age, Vol. 58 Iss. 32, pp. 1-2. Hofstede, G. (1983), The cultural relativity of organizational practices and theories, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 14 Iss. 2, pp. 75-89. Itim International (2011), Geert Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions for China, available at (assessed on July 18, 2011).


Gillian S. Naylor, UNLV Nadia Pomirleanu. UNLV

ABSTRACT Requests for customers to complete satisfaction surveys are on a major upswing. Inexpensive survey collection methods and the desire for a database have driven the trend (NYT, March 16, 2012). Along with this increase, there has been an increase in anecdotal evidence of persuasion to encourage consumers to give good satisfaction ratings. Stories of workers/salespeople telling customers that they must get satisfactory ratings on survey, or they will get penalized, abound on the internet. But what impact does this have on satisfaction survey results? Do consumers change their behavior if they feel pressured to complete a survey? Does personality have an impact? In this study we present consumers with various post-consumption scenarios to assess whether personality characteristics (extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness) impact their response to pressure to report satisfaction.


Jorge Cruz Crdenas Universidad Tecnolgica Indoamrica Av. Ral Padilla 79 P2 y Av. Occidental (Urb. Balcn del Norte). Quito Ecuador, ABSTRACT The giving and receiving of gifts is both an ancient and universal phenomenon. Its study began early in Anthropology (e.g. Mauss 1923) and decades later, it attracted the attention of scholars looking at the phenomenon from the perspective of consumer behavior (e.g. Belk 1976). Early scholarship was centered on the study of gift-giving in individualistic cultural environments. Subsequently, research concerning gift-giving was extended to the receiver and more recently to collectivistic environments. Nevertheless, research on the receiver`s behavior either in individualistic or collectivistic environments has been sparse. The present study to be described here contributes to the literature by centering on the receiver`s behavior in the stage after the reception of the gift, especially in the use and disposition of the gift and the feedback to the giver, all within a collectivist cultural frame. Brief Literature Review Disposition behavior involves what the consumer does with a product that has stopped being used (or that never has been used) but it is still usable. Jacoby, Berning and Dietvorst (1977) developed a typology for the methods of product disposition in general: To use it for other purposes, to store it, to throw it away, to give it away, to sell it, to trade it, to loan it, or to rent it. Fifteen years later, Sherry, McGrath and Levy (1992) studied disposition specifically applied to gifts and determined four ways of disposition: disposition by incorporation (integrating the gift to the receiver`s life), disposition by lateral cycling (the gift goes to another person), disposition by destruction, and disposition by return (to the retail store). As for the gift receivers feedback, this behavior has not been thoroughly studied; however, Sherry (1983) postulated it may be genuine or fake and he conceived it as a behavior located in a given moment when receiving the gift. The bulk of what we know about this phenomenon was discerned in individualistic cultural environments; some doubts appeared concerning generalization to collectivistic environments. Collectivism implies that individuals develop strong interpersonal links and frequent interactions, and groups and group members welfare have priority for the individuals that integrate them (Hofstede 2001). This, in turn, would imply that the use and disposition of a gift would not involve decisions that the gift receiver would develop through complete autonomy;

additionally, because of the closer and more frequent interactions of group members in a collectivistic environment, feedback to the giver would not happen only when receiving the gift, but would extend later on; i.e., it would take place in different ways and at different times. The present research looks into the gift receiver`s behaviors regarding the use and disposition of the product received and the feedback to the giver, in Ecuador, a country strongly collectivistic. Ecuador is a developing country that has an individualistic index of 8, whereas that index in the United States is at the other extreme, 91 (Hofstede 2001). This extreme collectivism of Ecuador is a characteristic shared by the rest of Latin America. Methodology Twenty-five undergraduate students from three universities in Quito, capital of Ecuador, were recruited. Their ages were between 19 and 26 years; 15 were women and 10 men. All 25 of the students were natives of Ecuador, and everyone indicated that they were practicing Christians (mostly Roman Catholics). The participants attended two in-depth interviews, each interview separated by a full year. In the first interview, held in the days shortly after Christmas in 2009, students were asked about the holiday gifts they received, their satisfaction with them, their reaction when opening them, the type of relationship with the giver and the givers gifts from former years. This first interview yielded a total of 90 gifts (including clothes and accessories, perfumes, books, sweets and chocolates, electronic devices and adornments for home). The same students agreed to a second interview during the days after Christmas in 2010 and into early January of 2011. In the second interview the effects that these 90 gifts had in the relationship with the giver, the use and disposition of the gifts, and the feedback to the giver were investigated. All interviews were recorded and transcribed and two methods were utilized to guarantee the validity of the study: Triangulation of multiple analysts and validation of the participants (Patton 1999). Upon detailed scrutiny of the interviews, two aspects were revealed as extremely important in the behavior of the receivers after the reception of their gifts: the satisfaction for the gift and the degree of control the giver was perceived to exert. Four themes emerged from the analysis and are depicted in Figure 1.
Liberty in the use and disposition of the product high Satisfaction with the product received Satisfaction Gift of a common product low Gift of a special product


Gift of an inadequate product

Gift of an awkward product

Figure 1: The themes and their principal dimensions


The theme of the gift as a common product appeared in a wide range of types of giver-receiver relationships in which the gift had a negligible effect (similar to findings by Ruth, Otnes and Brunel 1999); these gifts were satisfactory and there was total liberty for their use and disposition. The emphasis in the interviewees reports was centered on the product. The principal forms of feedback to the giver were the sincere conversations and the intentional and spontaneous use of the product, by conveying the message that the product was satisfactory. These products always went through a phase of use and the disposition was carried out by storage or by transference to third individuals, usually relatives or close acquaintances. The theme of the gift as a special product was characterized as having an important positive effect in the giver-receiver relationship; in this way, its principal value was emotional. The feedback to the giver was present both in the opening of the gift and in the use of the product, actions carried out with positive and intense emotions and with deference to the giver and to the relationship between the receiver and the giver. The messages conveyed were satisfaction for the higher level of the relationship and for the product. The important change in the relationship, the constant interest of the giver in the use of the gift, and the receivers fear to lose or spoil the product limited the receiver`s liberty. These types of gifts were used with a great concern about their preservation. The theme of a gift as an awkward product occurred in close relationships, was characterized as being unsatisfactory and, due to the giver`s close vigilance, gave the receiver no liberty in the use and disposition of the gift. In this case, receivers were found to value the relationship with the giver to such a degree as to result in no negative impact on the relationship. The receivers positive feedback to the giver was found to be based on lies. The disposition happened through indefinite storage, except for sporadic uses and only in the presence of the giver. Thus, besides being unsatisfactory, the product becomes awkward. Finally the theme of a gift as an inadequate product occurred in distant relationships, the gift was judged unsatisfactory by the receiver, but the distance from the giver gave the receiver liberty for the disposition of the product. This disposition was found to be based on the sometimes careful and other times negligent storage of the product and frequently it was followed by the transference of the gift to third individuals, typically relatives or close acquaintances of the receiver. The reports of those subjects exhibiting this theme were centered on the inferior qualities of the product. In many cases there was no feedback to the giver. Discussion The primary results of this study revealed that the principal ways of disposition of products received from gift givers were gift storage followed by transference to third parties, ways also typical in individualistic societies. However, in the collectivist society studied, several different findings emerged. When the receiver had perceived liberty for the decision, the disposition of the gift or its transference typically resulted in giving the original gift to relatives or close acquaintances. This practice suggests that individuals on the basis of their frequent interaction do know the needs of the members of their social nets. It is interesting to have uncovered the receiver`s behavior when he lacked perceived liberty, behavior in which the disposition and use were intertwined. When the gift was perceived as

special, the dilemma between keeping or using was part of the handling of the preservation of the product; when the gift was perceived to be awkward, the product was disposed by storage, but from time to time it was used in the presence of the gift giver in order to lead the gifter the impression that the receiver really liked the gift. Other ways of disposition stated by studies in individualistic societies such as the return to the retailer and the gifts destruction (Sherry et al. 1992) or the temporal disposition based on lending or renting (Jacoby et al. 1977) were not found in this study of Ecuadorian college students. The use of the product was not only intertwined with its disposition but also with the feedback to the giver. The use of the product received in presence of the giver was a proof of satisfaction for the product, being a way of nonverbal communication based on objects (Ruesch and Kess 1956) and from Hall`s (1976) perspective, a high context communication, with a great part of the message implicit. There were no cases of intentional negative feedback. Negative feedback presents the dilemma between improving the future performance of a giftgiver versus not spoiling the relationship with her/him (Geddes and Linnehan 1996). In the present study, this dilemma was definitively solved in favor of not spoiling the relationship: in none of the reports did the participants deliberately express their dissatisfaction with a gift to the givers and they usually feigned satisfaction. On the other hand, the positive feedback originated from the satisfactory gifts was carried out in a very visible and heartfelt way, behavior that would be considered inappropriate in other types of collectivist environments such as one of Confucianist Asia (Tsuda 2001). REFERENCES Belk, Russell W. (1976), It's the Thought that Counts: A Signed Digraph Analysis of Gift Giving, Journal of Consumer Research, 3(3), 155-162.

Geddes, Deanna and Frank Linnehan (1996), Exploring the Dimensionality of Positive
and Negative Performance Feedback, Communication Quarterly, 44(3), 326-344. Hall, Edward T. (1976), Beyond Culture, Anchor Books, New York. Hofstede, Geert (2001), Cultures Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations Across Nations, 2nd ed., Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA. Jacoby, Jacob, Carol K. Berning and Thomas F. Dietvorst (1977), What About Disposition?, Journal of Marketing, 41(2), 22-28. Mauss, Marcel (1923-1924), Essai Sur le Don: Forme et Raison de lchange Dans les Socits Archaques, Anne Sociologique, 1, 30-186. Patton, Michael Quinn (1999), Enhancing the Quality and Credibility of Qualitative Analysis, Health Services Research, 34(5), 11891208.


Ruesch, Jurgen and Weldon Kees (1956), Nonverbal Communication: Notes on the Visual Perception of Human Relations, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. Ruth, Julie A., Cele C. Otnes and Frderic. F. Brunel (1999), Gift Receipt and the Reformulation of Interpersonal Relationships, Journal of Consumer Research, 25(4), 385-402. Sherry, John. F., Jr. (1983), Gift Giving in Anthropological Perspective, Journal of Consumer Research, 10(2), 157-168. Sherry, John. F., Jr., Mary Ann McGrath and Sidney J. Levy (1992), The Disposition of the Gift and Many Unhappy Returns, Journal of Retailing, 68(1), 40-65. Tsuda, Takeyuki (2001), From Ethnic Affinity to Alienation in the Global Ecumene: The Encounter between the Japanese and Japanese-Brazilian Return Migrants, Diaspora, 10(1), 53-91.


Simon Gyasi Nimako Department of Management Education (COLTEK), University of Education, Winneba, Ghana BOX 1277 Kumasi Ghana, West Africa Email: Cell Phone:+233 - 261713782 ABSTRACT This paper, which was part of a larger study, sought to empirically assess and analyse customer satisfaction (CS) with different dimensions of service quality (SQ) in mobile telecommunication networks (MTNs) in Ghana. It involved a cross-sectional survey that used a self-administered structured questionnaire administered to one thousand respondents of mobile telecom subscribers. The findings indicate that though customers are satisfied with some SQ dimension items, significantly, most of the customers are very dissatisfied with technical quality and economy dimensions of the services of MTNs in Ghana. The management of MTNs in Ghana and policy makers are called upon to focus and redirect attention and effort to ensuring that service quality dimensions that customers are dissatisfied with are improved significantly to meet customer expectations. The paper contributes to the body of knowledge in the area customer satisfaction in the developing countries in general and in Ghanas mobile telecom networks in particular. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed. Key words: Customer satisfaction, service quality, SERVQUAL models, mobile telecom networks, customer expectation. INTRODUCTION Business organisations are increasingly embracing customer-driven philosophy that seeks to deliver high customers value through superior service quality delivery which in turn culminates into positive financial outcomes as opined by the popular Service-Profit Chain (Heskett, Jones, Loveman, Sasser, and Schlesinge 1994; Heskett, Sasser, and Schlesinger 1997; Reichheld and Sasser 1990). Delivering excellent service quality is widely recognised as a critical business requirement (Voss, Roth, Rosenzweig, Blackmon and Chase 2004),). It is not just a corporate offering, but a competitive weapon (Rosen, Karwan, and Scribner 2003) which is essential to corporate profitability and survival (Newman and Cowling 1996). Many authors agree that in todays dynamic market place and marketspace, organisation no longer compete only on cost but more importantly on service/product quality. In a competitive marketplace where businesses compete for customers, delivering quality service is seen as a key differentiator and has increasingly become a key element of business strategy (Heskett et al., 1997; Kotler and Keller 2006).

It has been established in previous studies that service quality is in several dimensions (Gronroos 1984, 2000; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 1988), though there is no agreement as to the exact number of dimensions or the best categories and terminologies to call them. While some authors such as Parasuraman et al. (1988) posit that service quality has five main dimensions which they call functional SQ dimension, other service quality gurus like Kauppinen-Risnen, Grnroos, and Gummerus (2007), Lovelock and Wirtz (2007), Edvardsson (2005), Storey and Easingwood (1998) have proposed other useful dimensions of service quality. Gronroos (1984), in particular, maintains that service quality of a firm is more than just the functional quality, it most importantly includes the technical and image quality dimensions. Modern organisations need to always scan their business environment for ways to satisfy their customers in various dimensions of service quality that form customer value. It is possible for customers to be satisfied in one service quality dimension and become dissatisfied in the others. The task of business organisations is, therefore, to be able to satisfy their customers in all dimensions of service quality they deliver better than competitors. Customer satisfaction regarding different dimension of service quality delivered in Ghanas mobile telecommunications networks (MTNs) is an area that lacks empirically justified documentations. According to a discussion paper on telecom developments and investments in Ghana (Frempong and Henten, February, 2004, p.3), the authors noted that the goals set by government have only partly been met especially with respect to the development in rural areas and the quality of service is still low and has even deteriorated on some indicators. There is, therefore, a widespread dissatisfaction with the general telecom development in Ghana among users as well as policy decision makers and administrators. In recent times, there has been more customer complaint about poor service quality which has been reported by the National Communications Authority (NCA) (BIZ, October 19, 2007). However, as far as the researchers know, no empirical study has been conducted to explore the dimensions of service quality for which customer are satisfied or dissatisfied with in Ghanas MTNs. There is, therefore, the need to empirically assess and analyse the phenomenon in order to provide direction for policy makers and managerial strategy. In view of the above, the main question of this paper which was part of a larger study is: Which dimensions of service quality are customers satisfied/dissatisfied with in Ghanas MTNs? The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to empirically explore and analyse customer satisfaction with different dimensions of service quality in the context of Ghanas Mobile Telecom Industry. The study is guided by the following research questions: 1. How satisfied or dissatisfied are mobile telecommunication customers with service quality delivered by mobile telecom operators in Ghanas MTNs? 2. How can customer satisfaction be improved in Ghanas mobile Telecom Industry?


LITERATURE REVIEW Brief Historical Overview of Ghanas Telecom Industry Before 1994, Ghanas telecommunication industry was monopolised by the incumbentgovernment corporation, Ghana Post, Telephone and Telegraph (PTT). Between 1994 and 2000, as a result of the deregulation of Ghanas telecommunications sector in 1994 under th e Accelerated Development Program 1994-2000 (ADP 2000), Ghana moved from a government controlled PTT to a competitive telecom environment that allowed strong internet and mobile telecom network providers to operate (Addy-Nayo 2001). Government announced a five-year comprehensive restructuring of the industry. Currently the mobile telecom industry in Ghana has attracted a number of players and operators, established industry regulations and authorising government agencies, as well as consumer association groups that are making competition keener and keener. Customer Satisfaction with service quality Customer satisfaction (CS) is a term that has received considerable attention and interest among scholars and practitioners perhaps because of its importance as a key element of business strategy, and goal for all business activities especially in todays competitive market (Anderson, Fornell, and Lehmann 1994). Though the concept has been variously defined by many authors, our conceptual framework for this sub-study adopts this definition: Satisfaction is a persons feeling of pleasure or disappointment resulting from comparing a products performance (outcome) in relation to his or her expectation (Kotler and Keller 2006, p. 144). Though service quality has long been found to strongly drive satisfaction (Gronroos 2001; Kotler and Keller 2006; Lovelock and Wirtz 2007; Oliver 1980; Wang and Hing-Po Lo 2002), the two terms are not synonymous (Parasuraman et al. 1988). In this work, satisfaction is related to service quality of a product or service offering (Kotler and Keller 2006), though satisfaction can as well be related to other non-quality dimensions of an organisation (Garland and Westbrook 1989; Singh 1991). Again satisfaction can be related to attribute-specific and overall performance. It is attribute-specific where it relates to a specific product or service (Cronin and Taylor 1992). For example, with mobile telecommunication, satisfaction can be related to a specific attribute of Multimedia Messaging Service, Mobile TV or Mobile Internet Service such as satisfaction with the voice quality, picture quality, speed, and the like. On the other hand, customer satisfaction can be related to the overall performance of a product/service or the overall performance of an organizations products/services (Cronin and Taylor 1992). In this study customer satisfaction is related to the overall performance of services delivered by mobile telecom networks in Ghana because we sought to generalise the findings for managerial implications. Satisfaction may be viewed as Transactional or Cumulative: On the one hand, from a transactional-specific perspective, CS is based on a one time, specific post-purchase evaluative judgement of a service encounter (Hunt 1977; Oliver 1980, 1993 cited in Wang and Hing-Po Lo 2002). On the other hand, in the cumulative CS perspective, CS is conceptualized as an overall customer evaluation of a product or service based on purchase and consumption experiences

over a time period (Fornell, 1992; Johnson and Fornell 1991; Anderson et al., 1994a, b; cited in Yonggui Wang and Hing-Po Lo 2002). In terms of the diagnostic and predictive value of customer satisfaction measurement, cumulative satisfaction is more useful and reliable than transaction-specific in that it is based on series of purchase and consumption occasions rather than just one occasion of transaction. Customer satisfaction, in this study, is measured from the last twelve months. Therefore our conceptual framework treats CS as cumulative. Measurement of customer satisfaction According to Danaher and Haddrell (1996), there are three broad categories of measurement scales used in customer satisfaction measurement. They are performance scales, disconfirmation scales (DS) and satisfaction scales. Performance scales are those that use scales such as poor, fair, good and excellent; disconfirmation scales are those that use scales such as worse than expected to better than expected; and satisfaction scales are those that use scales such as very dissatisfied to very satisfied. In Danaher and Haddrell (1996), previous studies (Devlin, Dong and Brown 1993; Rust, and Oliver 1994, pp. 61-2) have recommended the use of disconfirmation scales (DS) instead of the others for three reasons. First in one disconfirmation-based single question, it captures succinctly Parasuraman et al.s (1988) two-stage SERVQUAL measurement. Second, it is shown mathematically that comparison with expectations will correlate higher with customer retention than either a quality question or a satisfaction question (Rust et al., 1994). Lastly, using DS is better because a customer rating service quality highly, for example as good or excellent, may not perceive it as better than expected. In an empirical study that compared several scales simultaneously on the same respondents, Danaher and Haddrell (1996) confirm that their results were consistent with the assertions by Devlin et al. (1993) and Rust et al.(1994) that the DS is a preferred method in measuring CS, and that a fivepoint DS would be an improvement over the three-point scale if high predictive validity is essential. However, they pointed out that one drawback of the five-point DS (as noted by Devlin et al. 1993) could be its use in telephone surveys, where respondents might have to be continually reminded of five rather than three scale points. For the above reasons, our theoretical framework for measuring customer satisfaction uses DS. Again, since personal contact was to be used and high predictive validity was a major concern, we appropriately adopted five-point DS: from much better expected to much worse than expected. Service Quality Service quality has been a difficult-to-define concept that has aroused considerable interest and debate in the research literature. One definition that is adopted for this study defines service quality as the extent to which a service meets customers needs or expectations (Asubonteng, McCleary and Swan 1996). Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry support the same view, defining the concept of service quality as a form of attitude, related, but not equivalent to satisfaction, that results from a comparison of expectations with perceptions of performance. Expectations are viewed as desires or wants of customers, i.e. what they feel a service provider should offer rather than would offer.(Parasuraman et al. 1988).Since service quality is basically defined from customer perspective and not the manufacturers, it is usually referred to as customer perceived

quality. The concept of consumer-perceived quality (CPQ) was first defined by Gronroos in 1982 as the confirmation (or disconfirmation) of a consumers expectations of service compared with the customers perception of the service actually received. This is because the meaning of quality can be referred to in many attributes such as the experience of the service encounters, or moments of truth, the evidence of service; image; price, and so on. These form the customers overall perceptions of quality, satisfaction and value (Zeithaml and Bitner 1996). Though service quality has been perceived for a long time to be an outcome of customer cognitive assessment, recent studies confirm that service quality involves not only an outcome but emotions of customers. It is argued that during the consumption experience, various types of emotions can be elicited, and these customer emotions convey important information on how the customer will ultimately assess the service encounter and subsequently, the overall relationship quality (Wong 2004, p. 369). Wong further found that negative emotions have a stronger effect on satisfaction with quality than positive emotions. Edvardsson (2005, p.128) maintains that customer perception of service quality is beyond cognitive assessment as it is formed during the production, delivery and consumption of services and not just at the consumption stage. This is made possible as customers play their role as co-producers by carrying out activities as well as being part of interactions influencing both process quality and outcome quality. The concept of service quality from the customer perspective, thus perceived service quality, is very crucial and in the words of the guru the consumer, of course, perceives what he or she receives as the outcome of the process in which the resources are used, i.e. the technical or outcome quality of the process. But he or she also, and often more importantly, perceives how the process itself functions, i.e. the functional or process quality dimension. Thus, the technical quality and functional quality dimensions of perceived service quality emerge. (Gronroos 2001, p.151). Conceptual framework In understanding the dimensions of service quality of a firm, many models of service quality were reviewed, nineteen of them have been previously presented in the work of Nitin, Deshmukh and Vrat (2005). Of the many SQ models reviewed, Gronroos model of service quality was selected in understanding service quality dimensions for which customer satisfaction can be measured. This is because the model is comprehensive, empirically validated and appropriate for the context of the study mobile telecom service industry. First, the model is comprehensive in that it captures not only composed of functional quality as portrayed by Parasuraman et al.(1988) but also technical quality as well as image, which is more realistic of todays dynamic global marketplace than what functional quality only models portray. According to the author, customer evaluations of perceived performance of service against his/her perceived service quality result in a measure of service quality. Technical quality is the quality of what consumer actually receives as a result of his/her interaction with the service firm and is important to him/her and to his/her evaluation of the quality of service. Functional quality is how he/she gets the technical outcome. This is important to him and to his/her views of service he/she has received. Image, which could be referred to as reputational quality, is very important to service firms and this can be expected to build up mainly by technical and functional quality

of service including the other factors (tradition, ideology, word of mouth, pricing and public relations). Secondly, the model has been examined that Gronroos models is more applicable to mobile telecommunication context. In the empirical work of Nitin et al. (2005, p.946) on critical review of service quality models found that the service quality outcome and measurement is dependent on type of service, setting, situation, time need, etc. factors. The mobile telecom market is a type of service industry in which customers place much importance not only on how they are served (functional quality), but also and more importantly, on outcome or nature of services they experience which constitute network quality and other technical quality issues. Thirdly, the model is empirically validated and according to Gi-Du and James (2004, p.1), The results from a cell phone service sample revealed that Gronroos model is a more appropriate representation of service quality than the American perspective with its limited concentration on the dimension of functional quality. For the above reasons, the study conceptualises service quality to include the three dimensions of Gronroos service quality model, namely: functional quality, technical quality and image or reputational quality. In addition to that, many previous studies (Rust and Oliver 1994; Hume and Mort 2008) have established, that value is a significant dimension of SQ that could determine CS. In the context of Ghana mobile telecom market, through a preliminary focus group discussion, it was discovered that economy - value for money or how economical services are to customers - was another important dimension that is considered by most customers in Ghana when choosing and using mobile telecom services. As this is consistent with previous research work, economy will be included separately as a fourth dimension of service quality. Thus, the conceptual framework for this paper has four dimensions of SQ. Therefore, CS will be measured regarding four main SQ dimensions: functional, technical, image and economy dimensions as displayed in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Conceptual Framework for the Study


METHODOLOGY By design the study was a cross-sectional survey that sought the opinion of customers about their satisfaction of the service quality delivered by mobile telecom operators in Ghana. The target population comprised mobile telecom individual subscribers from mobile telecom networks in Ghana. A convenience sample size of one 1000 respondents was selected based because of cost and time constraints. Customer satisfaction with each SQ dimension was measured using self-administered structured questionnaire. The variables for measuring customer priority of each SQ dimensions are presented in Table 1. The dimensions of SQ were derived from previous work (Grnroos 1984; Parasuraman, et al. (1988) These included the five functional quality dimensions of Parasuraman et al. (1988), being Tangibles, Reliability, Responsiveness, Assurance and Empathy, and technical and image quality dimensions of Grnroos (1984) as well as economy dimension value for money which was derived from the preliminary focus group interview and supported by previous studies (Hume and Mort 2008; Rust and Oliver 1994) as an important SQ dimension that affects customer satisfaction in the context of Ghanas MTNs. The respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction of the eight SQ dimensions on a five-point disconfirmation Likert scale, based on the advice of Danaher and Haddrell (1996). The scale ranged from: Much worse than expected (1), Worse than expected (2) Equal to expectation (3), Better than expectation (4) and Much better than expected (5). It had five items for respondents bio data. Content validity was established by a panel of two marketing experts; construct validity was ensured by critically developing it within established theoretical framework; criterion validity was ensured by carefully comparing it to existing developed instruments (Gi-Du and James 2004; Parasuraman et al. 1988). Cronbach alpha reliability tests for each of the eight multi-dimension constructs were above the recommended 0.70 (Straub, Boudreau and Gefen 2004), and a composite reliability of all the 36 measurement items yielded a composite value of 0.952 (see Appendix A). Therefore the scales could be considered reliable. The questionnaire was pre-tested using a sample of 20 subscribers to identify any ambiguous items for refinement. Finally it was administered to the respondents through personal contact with the assistance of trained research assistants. The survey yielded a response rate o 93.7%. Data was analysed using one-sample t-test to determine dimension-items that customers are significantly satisfied or dissatisfied, setting a specified hypothetical constant of three (3) and a significance level of 0.05. RESULTS Demographic Data In terms of gender, 55% were males and 45% females, occupation-wise, most of them (63%) were students, 24% were public servants, 4% were business persons while 9% other professionals. 50% of the respondents were within the ages of 20-39 years and 13% were between 40 and 49 years, implying that majority of them were in the economically active population. In terms of income, 98% of respondents earned monthly income below GH300 of

which 31% earned between GH100 to 200 while 30% earned virtually no monthly income indicating that most of them earned considerably lower incomes. All respondents were educated with 75% of the respondents with tertiary or higher education while 25% had high school and post-high school education. Customer Satisfaction with Service Quality Dimensions To verify whether the mean satisfaction ratings for each SQ dimension is significant or not, a one sample T-test was conducted. The alternate hypothesis assumes that customers are not satisfied or that satisfaction is worse or much worse than expected while the null hypothesis states that customer satisfaction is at least equal to expectation, signifying a cut-off value of 3. The results are presented in Table 1. Table 1 One Sample T-Test for Satisfaction with service quality
One-Sample Test Test Value = 3 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference Lower .0233 Upper .1453 Do not Reject Assessment of Null Hypothesis

Service Quality Dimensions TA1


Sig. (2Mean tailed) Difference .08431

Ability to give customers access to information, SIM card (chip), 2.711 936 .007 reload cards Provision of visually attractive, offices, equipment and materials 4.013 936 .000 like starter packs and reload cards Ability to providing variety of entertainment facilities, etc. Appearance and uniforms of employees .241 936 .810





Do not Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Reject Reject


.00854 .23799 .02348 -.12914 -.04803 .03415 -.21238 -.10886

-.0610 .1754 -.0430 -.1960 -.1174 -.0284 -.2786 -.1793

.0781 .3006 .0900 -.0623 .0213 .0967 -.1462 -.0384

7.463 936 .000 936 .489

Timeliness of delivery of SMS, MMS, Voice message and other .693 services. Truthful (keeping to promises) Dependable and consistency in solving customers complaints.


-3.792 936 .000 -1.359 936 .174

Ability to perform services right 1.072 936 .284 the first time. Insisting on error-free records. -6.294 936 .000

Ability to tell customers exactly -3.031 936 .003 when services will be performed 126


Ability to give prompt customer services and attend to customers -1.333 936 .183 needs/problems Employees willingness to help customers in emergency -1.883 936 .060 situations. Employees approachability and .183 easy to contact. Employees ability to communicate clearly with you. Having convenient periods and terms for activation, recharge, and accounts suspension, free call times Having operating hours convenient to all customers 936 .855




Do not Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject


-.06403 .00640 .18677

-.1308 -.0621 .1202

.0027 .0750 .2534


5.503 936 .000

2.966 936 .003






936 .340

.03308 -.15475 -.02668 -.05229 -.07044 -.07471

-.0349 -.2203 -.0945 -.1176 -.1359 -.1520

.1011 -.0892 .0411 .0131 -.0050 .0026

Having sound loyalty programme to recognise you as a -4.633 936 .000 frequent customer Having the customers best interest at heart Giving individual customer attention by employees Efforts to understand specific customer needs. Apologising for inconvenience caused to customers. Ability to provide variety of value added services- Music, access to internet, SMS, MMS, etc. Sincerity and patience in resolving customers complaints/problems. The behaviour of employees in instilling confidence in customers. -.772 936 .440


-1.570 936 .117 -2.112 936 .035 -1.897 936 .058

4.841 936 .000





2.183 936 .029






936 .422





Employees use of required skills and knowledge to answer 4.490 936 .000 customers questions. Economy of reloading cards and -2.919 936 .004 their denominations.

.14088 -.10352

.0793 -.1731

.2025 -.0339

Do not Reject Reject




Economy of the call charge per minute/second. Successful in completion of calls, SMS, MMS, line activation, credit reloading.

936 .000 13.208 .000 936 1.000

-.48239 .00000

-.5541 -.0627

-.4107 .0627

Reject Do not Reject


Employees have technological knowledge and skills in solving 1.603 936 .109 customer problems Network clarity and speed for call and other services -2.475 936 .014

.05016 -.08751 .09712 .04376 .35966 .31697 .33725 .31377

-.0112 -.1569 .0319 -.0283 .2967 .2511 .2752 .2455

.1116 -.0181 .1623 .1158 .4226 .3829 .3993 .3820

Do not Reject Reject


Network innovativeness ability to use current technology to 2.923 936 .004 improve services Providing adequate network coverage Success of mobile network company. Reputation of mobile network. Brand image of mobile network. Socially responsible mobile network. 1.191 936 .234 11.216 936 .000 9.440 936 .000 10.662 936 .000 9.026 936 .000

Do not Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject Do not Reject


The results in Table 1 show that for eight dimension items, all confidence intervals are negative with significantly negative mean differences; this implies that customer satisfaction is worse or much worse than expected for the following eight (8) dimensions: RL2, RL5, RS1, EM3, EM6, EC1, EC2, and TQ3. Again, it further indicates that customer satisfaction is at least equal to expectation for the following fifteen dimensions: TA3, RL1, RL3, RL4, RS2, RS3, RS4, EM2, EM4, EM5, EM7, AS3, TQ1, TQ2, and TQ5. This is because their confidence intervals have at least a positive value or include zero, implying that satisfaction is significantly equal but not less or greater than the cut-off value of 3. Finally, for the following thirteen (13) dimensions customer satisfaction is better or much better than expected: TA1, TA2, TA4, RS5, EM1, AS1, AS2, AS4, TQ4, IM1, IM2, IM3, and IM4. This is because all the respective confidence intervals and mean differences for these items are positive values, implying that satisfaction is significantly greater than the cut-off value of 3.


DISCUSSION AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS OF STUDY The results in Table 1 provides a strong support that customers are significantly not satisfied in the following eight (8) service quality dimension items, five of which relate to functional quality, one technical quality and the two economy items: Truthfulness (keeping to promises) to customers Ability of network to insist on error-free records Ability of network tell customers exactly when services will be performed Having sound loyalty programme to recognise frequent customers Efforts to understand specific customer needs The perceived economy of reloading cards and their denominations The economy of call charge per minute/second. Network clarity and speed for call and other services.

In the above eight dimensions customer are typically dissatisfied and that their satisfaction can further be described as worse and/or much worse than expected by customers. Again, the analysis (Table 1) also provides adequate evidence to support the claim that customer satisfaction is at least equal to expectation for these fifteen dimensions, twelve (12) of which are functional quality items and three (3) technical quality items: Timeliness in the delivery of SMS, MMS, Voice message and other services of your network Networks ability to providing variety of entertainment facilities, etc Dependability and consistency of network in solving customers complaints Ability of network to perform services right the first time Ability of network to give prompt customer services and attend to customers needs/problems Willingness of employees to help customers in emergency situations Approachableness of the employees approachable and easy to contact Having operating hours convenient to all customers Having the customers best interest at heart Giving individual customer attention by employees. Apologising for inconvenience caused to customers. The behaviour of employees in instilling confidence in customers Successful in completion of calls, SMS, MMS, line activation, credit reloading, etc Employees have technological knowledge and skills in solving customer problems. Providing adequate network coverage

Finally, CS is better or much better than expected for the following thirteen (13) dimensions, eight (8) of which relate to functional, one (1) relate to technical and all four (4) image quality items:


Networks ability to give you access to information, SIM card (chip), recharge cards; Provision of visually attractive, offices, equipment and materials like starter packs and reload cards; The appealing nature of the appearance and uniforms of employees; Ability of network to tell customers exactly when services will be performed; Having convenient periods and terms for activation, recharge, and accounts suspension; free call times. Ability to provide variety of value added services- Music, internet access, SMS, etc. Sincerity and patience in resolving customers complaints/problems; Employees use of required skills and knowledge to answer customers questions; Network innovativeness ability to use current technology to improve services; The success of a mobile network company; The reputation of a mobile network company; The brand image of a mobile network; and How socially responsible a mobile network

For image and tangibles, being the least important and unimportant to customers respectively, already customers are satisfied with all items relating to them, so less strategic effort should be devoted to them. Theoretical Implications The study contributes to the general body of knowledge in customer satisfaction measurement. Specifically, it develops customer satisfaction measurement instrument in the context of mobile telecommunication services. It also provides evidence that customer satisfaction could be measured for many dimensions of service quality. This study provides a detailed assessment and analysis of dimensions of service quality that customer satisfaction could be measured, and provides the foundation of future research to be conducted in similar service industry contexts. Policy Implication The study has a number of implications for management and policy in Ghanas MTNs. First, the study provides empirical evidence on the state of customer satisfaction in the mobile telecommunication industry in Ghana in general. Management of MTNs should improve upon their performance to improve service quality for dimensions that customers were typically dissatisfied. Previous studies have shown that customer dissatisfaction has many serious consequences on consumer behavioral intentions (Bowen and Chen 2001; Wang Y. and Hing-Po Lo 2002). Dissatisfied customers are likely to engage in negative Word-of mouth communication, exhibit distractive complaining behaviour (Day 1977; Day, Grabickle, Schaetzle, and Staubauch 1981; Huefner and Hunt 2000), be unlikely to recommend, have unlikely repurchase intentions (Sivadas and Baker-Prewitt 2000), engage in disloyalty behaviour, and may switch or have switching intentions (Gerrard, and Cunningham 2004; Keaveney 1995). Therefore, the MTNs in Ghana should improve their service quality by being truthful to their promises to customers, being able to insist on error-free records for customers, being able to tell

customers exactly when services will be performed, being able to have sound loyalty programme to recognise loyal customers, and by training employees in making efforts to understand specific customer needs so they can be served better. Thus, strategic management effort in the MTNs in Ghana is needed in order to make significant improvement in these service quality dimensions. This would require a total transformation in operational efficiency of the mobile networks to achieve any meaningful improvement in CS. Moreover, the service quality should be improved by making the services more economical so that customers can afford and have better value for their money or sacrifices made for using the mobile network services. By pursing this, the service quality and therefore customer satisfaction would be improved in the economy dimension for which customers are significantly dissatisfied. Furthermore, the network quality in terms of clarity and speed for making and receiving call, and accessing and using other internet and network services should be considerably improved. The National Communication Authority (NCA) is encouraged to strengthen its monitoring efforts especially in this area. In the situation where network quality of some of the networks are poor and are posing problems to customers, it might be necessarily to sanction such companies and ensure that customers are at least satisfied in the industry. One way to also enhance network quality in MTNs in Ghana, is for the NCA to carefully scrutinize in-coming mobile telecom networks to ensure that their facilities are not only up-to-standard but also adequate to meet the needs of their customers in Ghana. Another strategy is to increase competition in the industry by recognizing the efforts of operating companies in the area of improving service quality and customer satisfaction. In this regard, periodic regional survey programme could be established to give customers the opportunity to assess or rate their companies and the results published, based upon which the NCA could formally recognize the efforts of deserving companies. LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH Though the study provides evidence on customer satisfaction in mobile telecommunication industry context in developing country, it is limited to telecommunications industry. Again, the satisfaction was measured against theoretically and empirically identified dimensions of service quality. There might be other useful dimensions that were not included in this study such as security, trust, information provision, among others for which customer satisfaction could measured in the mobile telecommunication industry context. Future research could explore other critical service quality dimensions in mobile telecommunication context. Furthermore, future research could examine the influence of service quality dimension on customer satisfaction and loyalty towards developing a model of customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction in mobile telecommunication context. CONCLUSIONS This paper sought to assess and analyse customer satisfaction with dimensions of service quality delivered by Ghanas MTNs. The findings show that CS is better than expected for thirteen (13) SERVQUAL dimension items, at least equal to expectation for these fifteen SERVQUAL dimension items, and then worse than expected for eight (8) SERVQUAL dimension items. The

Again, customers are dissatisfied with all economic dimension items, implying that the service quality of MTNs in Ghana is significantly not economical to customers, it is worse than expected by customers. Lastly customer are satisfied with all image dimension items implying that customers are typically satisfied with the success, reputation, brand image of MTNs in Ghana and how they are socially responsible. It provides managerial and theoretical implications of the findings, and identifies the limitations and future research.

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Overall Reliability Statistics for all Items Dimensions Tangible Reliability Responsiveness Empathy Assurance Economy Technical Quality Image Cronbach's Alpha 0.72 0.78 0.83 0.85 0.80 0.68 0.82 0.84 Number of Items 4 5 5 7 4 2 5 4

All other items(excluding Bio data) 0.952 36

Source: Researchers Field Data from SPSS output