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Title: Measuring consumer complaining intention : using theory of planned behaviour
Authors: Cheng, Chung-ling Simone
Degree: M.Phil.
Issue Date: 2003
Abstract: Customer dissatisfaction has been regarded as a common phenomenon in the restaurant sector. Most restaurants were believed to be unable to achieve 100 per cent customer satisfaction for all customers at all times, even with conscientious quality control because of the labour-intensive and intangible nature of restaurant services. Despite the fact that product and service failure is popular in restaurants, the reported rate of dissatisfaction and complaining behaviour made direct to restaurants is low. Many customers prefer to engage in other kinds of consumer complaining behaviour, namely, negative word-of-mouth communication and switching, instead of voicing out dissatisfaction to restaurant directly. Given the intense competition among restaurants, understanding how customers respond when they are dissatisfied is vital. This study investigated the intentions behind different types of complaining behaviour of Chinese customers in the context of high-class restaurants. The study covered three types of consumer complaining behaviour proposed by Richins (1983); namely, voice behaviour, negative word-of-mouth communication, and switching behaviour. The hypothesized model in this study was based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) as the theoretical foundation. Additionally, two variables - past behaviour and extent of relational contact - were incorporated into the model to assess the predictive power of the extended model. The hypothesized model included four endogenous variables: attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control, and intention to engage in different kinds of consumer complaining behaviour. It also included two exogenous variables: past behaviour and extent of relational contact. The measurement scale and format of the research instrument were developed according to the suggestion of Ajzen (2001a) and Churchill (1979). All of the scales used in this study were pre-tested using confirmatory factor analysis. Questionnaires were distributed to diners in eight selected high-class restaurants in Shanghai, China. A combined recall and scenario approach was adopted in the data collection. Respondents were asked to recall a recent experience that caused them dissatisfaction. They were then asked to rate their level of agreement towards different aspects of consumer complaining behaviour if a situation similar to the one described were to occur again. In total, 394 usable questionnaires were collected. The method of data analysis employed in this study was Structural Equation Modeling with latent variables using the statistical program Linear Structural Relation (LISREL 8.20). The various goodness-of-fit indices of the three complaining models provided concrete evidence of the applicability of the TPB model in predicting different consumer complaining behaviours in the context of high-class restaurants in a Chinese setting. The results of the study revealed that perceived behavioural control and past behaviour were relatively important determinants of the intentions to voice and to engage in negative WOM communication, respectively, while the intention to switch was mostly influenced by subjective norm. The results also demonstrated that past behaviour played a substantial role in affecting subjective norm and perceived behavioural control in the voice model, and exerted significant influence on the negative WOM intention. By contrast, past behaviour did not show any impact in the model of switching. Furthermore, no significant association was found between the extent of relational contact and the intentions of three complaining behaviours. On the other hand, substantial relationships were found between extent of relational contact and attitude, and between relational contact and subjective norm in the model of voice and switching behaviour, respectively. Theoretical and managerial implications were provided, and recommendations for future research were included.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Consumer satisfaction
Consumer complaints
Pages: xv, 289 p. : ill. ; 30 cm
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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