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Based on our revised taxonomy, Table 2 summarizes the various consequences an organization may expect from each of the types of complaint behaviors. In Table 2, it appears that the worst possible consumer complaint behaviors for the organization are those that do not involve external sources.
Failure to complain to external sources prevents the consumer from obtaining redress, thus increasing the likelihood for continued or increased dissatisfaction. More importantly, the organization risks losing these dissatisfied Case 2 incident organizational behavior without understanding the reason for the dissatisfaction, or having the opportunity to correct the problem Strahle et al.
Consumer exit or boycott causes the organization the loss of revenue from a consumer, without providing the organization with an opportunity to redeem itself. In addition, exit does not supply the organization with any marketing information on which to plan for the future.
Although it materializes as a decline in the sales statistics, there is no guarantee that the organization will detect or even perceive it correctly. In the wort case scenario, the drop in sales may be offset by a rise elsewhere, and the organization does not perceive the problem.
While consumer exit is bad for the organization, the effects of negative word of mouth are potentially much worse since it can influence many more people TARP As with exit, the organization may not realize that it has a problem, and may not understand the reason for a drop in their sales statistics.
Again, the organization obtains no long term market information. On the other hand, complaint behaviors that involve external sources have more positive consequences for the organization.
For example, in a third party complaint, the nature of the dissatisfaction eventually comes to the attention of the organization. As a result, the organization realizes that a problem exists, the nature of the problem, and then has the opportunity to correct it.
This brings with it the potential for eliminating future dissatisfaction from this source. Unfortunately, however, many third party complaints follow unsuccessful consumer attempts to contact or obtain a remedy from the organization.
Consequently, while gaining valuable information, the organization may still lose the consumer as well as incur the added expense of handling a third party complaint. Given the consequences of these complaint behaviors, we support the contention of the few others Fornell and WernerfeltTARP who suggest that the best approach for an organization is to encourage complaints to the organization.
At the very least, when a consumer uses an external source to complain about a product or service, the organization becomes aware of the dissatisfaction.
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By voicing a complaint, the consumer is signaling the need for the organization to address a dissatisfaction. Research has also shown that consumers who complain are more organization loyal than consumers who never voice a complaint to the organization, regardless of whether the complaint was handled satisfactorily TARP However, we believe that just encouraging complaints is not enoughCthe organization must handle the complaints in an appropriate manner.
A key construct in most complaint management situations is the communication between the consumer and the organization Garrett, Meyers and Camey The perceived potential for resolution also influences complaint behavior.
Consequently, it is important that the organization understand why consumers choose specific complaint behaviors, particularly those that do not involve the direct voicing of a complaint to the organization.
A research agenda based on our revision of the Singh typology, would provide the organization with this information. Based on this information, the organization can then begin to carefully manage consumer complaint behavior and their own complaint responses, resulting in higher consumer satisfaction.
In the next section, we use the conclusions of our literature review to demonstrate how understanding the nature of the various types of complaint behaviors can be used by managers to encourage more consumers to voice their complaints directly to the organization.
While these programs have some benefit, they are missing a substantial audienceCdissatisfied consumers who do not voice their complaint. For any organization serious about handling complaint recovery, the immediate implication is that they are missing at least two-thirds of their target market.
This may explain why the expected increase in consumer complaints due to the increased usage of toll free lines for consumer service departments never materialized. These lines simply targeted complainers, those who would have complained anyway, thus missing most of their dissatisfied consumers.
Suggestions for addressing this problem may lie in defensive marketing Fornell and Wernerfelt The implementation of defensive marketing to complaint management entails three main facets.
First, an organization identifies dissatisfied consumers, then it tries to understand the complaint behavior from an organizational perspective, and finally it handles their complaint in such a way as to persuade the consumers to remain loyal.
In order to employ defensive marketing, organizations must first be able to reach consumers who do not directly voice their complaint to the organization and convince them to complain. However, it is not enough just to understand how these variables influence complaint behavior.
Organizations must also develop strategies for influencing these variables and complaint behavior. Following, we discuss some of these strategies.Critical Incident Case Assignment. Matrix of Cases and Subjects. Cases in Management and Organ. Behavior, Volume 2. and human resource decisions. References each case to several leading management and organizational behavior books.
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