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Author Kobayashi, Richard M
Title Looking for a Sign: It's What Customers Expect
book jacket
Descript 177 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 72-08, Section: B, page: 5015
Adviser: Margaret Diddams
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Seattle Pacific University, 2011
If customer complaints are central to improving customer service, how can companies motivate customers to complain? The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of a sign on customer complaints, customer satisfaction, and customer perceptions of employee performance. I hypothesized that customer complaints, complaint handling expectations, satisfaction, loyalty, and perceptions of service would increase in the presence of a sign that incorporated a restaurant's existing, but unseen, complaint handling procedures. I also hypothesized that propensity to complain would be lower in the presence of a sign. This study incorporated a quasi-experimental field study design that collected survey data from restaurant customers in Hawaii under normal base rate conditions (8 weeks; N =75) and in the presence of a sign (8 weeks; N = 75). Few customers complained over the 16 weeks so the hypotheses associated with complaining customers could not be tested. Furthermore, due to the negative skew of the data, Mann- Whitney tests were used to test differences in customer data between the two conditions. Results showed that customers in the sign present condition had significantly higher complaint handling expectations and propensity to complain than customers in the no sign condition. Never the less, the sign appeared to be useful in motivating customers to complain if they had desired to do so. The priming effect of a sign was also explored as a possible explanation for these results. A sign may influence customers before they complained and at the point of decision making to complain. Customers who knew that they could complain before they engaged in a service relationship (e.g. ordering food) may have been motivated to reframe their interactions with employees and thus head off possible complaints. To better assess changes between conditions, future research should incorporate a longitudinal design that includes a qualitative component. Expectancy theory (Porter & Lawler, 1968; Vroom, 1964) and environmental psychology provided the theoretical framework for the hypotheses and the use of a sign as a way motivate customers to complain in a restaurant environment
School code: 1043
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 72-08B
Subject Business Administration, General
Psychology, Industrial
Alt Author Seattle Pacific University. Industrial/Organizational Psychology
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