Investigating online complaint intention and service recovery expectations of clothing retail customers
The retail industry is faced with increased customer service demands and a competitive market environment. For retailers to survive in a competitive marketplace, a customer orientation is vital in order to establish and maintain long-term relationships with customers. As the clothing retail industry is characterised as an industry with high human involvement, employee-related service failures are inevitable. Service failures cause the disconfirmation of service expectations which lead to customer dissatisfaction, a motivator of customer complaint behaviour. Given that the resolution of a customer complaint is critical in order to restore customer satisfaction, retailers are providing customers with a variety of innovative complaint channels, such as online complaining. Although online complaint channels have become commonplace, little research has been undertaken regarding the effect of a complaint channel on customers‟ complaint behaviour and customers‟ expectations in the clothing retail industry. South African clothing retailers could therefore benefit from an understanding of customers‟ online complaint intention and ensuing service recovery expectations. Scholars profess that complaint intention correlates positively with service recovery expectations as customers decide to post a complaint when they generally have high recovery expectations. Furthermore, complaint intention and service recovery expectations are increased by a positive attitude towards complaining. Consequently, attitude towards complaining plays a significant role in forecasting complaint behaviour of dissatisfied customers. Moreover, service failure severity has been used to measure how customers assess the intensity of service failures and is said to also influence customers‟ complaint intention and their subsequent service recovery expectation. The primary objective of this study was to uncover customers‟ online complaint intention and subsequent service recovery expectations after experiencing an employee-related service failure in the clothing retail industry. The empirical study was based on a descriptive research design in which a structured, self-administered questionnaire was fielded amongst respondents within the Johannesburg metropolitan area of South Africa. A non-probability, convenience sampling method was used and a total of 400 respondents participated in this study. The results indicate that although the majority of respondents use the Internet daily and exhibit a high propensity to complain, they prefer to complain in-store. After respondents had been presented with a fictional employee-related service failure scenario, they did not indicate a high intention to complain online. Very few differences were uncovered between different groups of respondents pertaining to their attitude towards complaining, online complaint intention, service failure severity perception and strength of service recovery expectation. Finally – with respect to an empirically tested theoretical model – respondents‟ attitude towards complaining in general and their perceptions of the severity of the service failure experienced, significantly and positively influence their strength of service recovery expectations, while no significant positive influences were uncovered for paths linking the aforementioned constructs with online complaint intention. As a result, online complaint intention was omitted from the measurement model seeing that respondents who participated in this study did not indicate a high tendency to complain online. It is recommended that clothing retailers recognise the importance of in-store complaint management programmes and ensure that in-store complaint channels are easily accessible, efficient and pleasant to use. Clothing retailers should actively educate customers regarding alternative mechanisms and channels available for complaining. In order to increase customers‟ online complaint intention, clothing retailers should provide a visible complaint portal on their website and communicate the benefits of online complaining during in-store advertising. Clothing retailers should furthermore provide the appropriate strength of service recovery for particular levels of service failure severity when managing customer complaints. Consequently, it is recommended that clothing retailers provide their employees with sufficient training that will educate them regarding their interaction with customers and the best practice thereof, the difference between minor and major service failures, and the selection of an appropriate service recovery strategy during different service failure severity encounters. It is recommended that this study is extended to other service settings in order to uncover online complaint intention and strength of service recovery expectations of customers in other industries. Finally, seeing that respondents‟ strength of service recovery expectations vary according to the severity of the service failure, scenarios representing different levels of service failure severity can be used as basis to measure the key constructs measured in this study.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Norfolk, Simon; Cosijn, Michaela (2013)Within the context of Mozambique, this paper examines the state of forest ecosystem services, the dependency of the population on these systems for their well-being, if an adaptive governance regime is being created which ...
Letšosa, Rantoa Simon (North-West University, 2005)One of the most important yet most undermined aspects of the Reformed Churches in the resort of Synod Midlands is its liturgy. Little study has been done on liturgy and few Church Councils make liturgy their concern. ...
Relationship intention and satisfaction following service recovery: the mediating role of perceptions of service recovery in the cell phone industry Kruger, Liezl-Marié; Mostert, Pierre; De Beer, Leon Tielman (AOSIS, 2015)In an industry characterised by fierce competition, cell phone network providers find it increasingly difficult to retain their customers after service failure. It is therefore essential for cell phone network providers ...