Satisfied customers may pass on positive comments about the firm and its

Satisfied customers may pass on positive comments

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Satisfied customers may pass on positive comments about the firm and its offerings
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- 6 - and recommend the company to others. The gratified customers can be powerful influences if they disseminate favorable word-of-mouth and sometimes attract new patrons as a result (Bearden and Teel, 1983). This development is particularly likely for Internet commerce since the breath and depth of spread afforded by the Internet is far beyond that of traditional word-of-mouth. Further, satisfied customers generate high patronage frequency. They tend to remain loyal to the firm, repurchase or spend more with it, and be willing to pay a price premium (Bearden and Teel, 1983; Zeithaml et al., 1996). Dissatisfied customers may take actions detrimental to the firm, including spreading negative word-of-mouth, switching patronage to another company, complaining to internal and external agencies, and reducing purchases from the company (Zeithaml et al., 1996). Moreover, the effects of negative experiences on customer behavioral consequences are often more severe than those of positive experiences (Mittal et al., 1998). However, dissatisfied customers may return to the organization if the service provider accepts the responsibility for the action and resolves the underlying problem(s) (Hart et al., 1990). Various studies have attempted to uncover the behavioral consequences of customer satisfaction in the conventional channels of distribution. Zeithaml et al.(1996) proposed four types of behavioral intentions: word-of-mouth communications, repurchase intention, price sensitivity, and complaining behavior. After conducting a factor analysis of the behavioral intentions of consumers of retail chains, automobile insurers, computer buyers, and life insurers, they uncovered five dimensions: loyalty to the company, willingness to pay more, propensity to switch, external response to problems, and internal response to problems. However, this five-factor model has not been confirmed and hence has been controversial (Bloemer et al., 1999). Instead, Bloemer et al.(1999) noted that the original four factors model performs better. Internal and external responses to problems are condensed into the complaint factor. Other studies have found that overall satisfaction impacts significantly on one or more behavioral consequences such as patronage, repurchase intention, and recommendations to others (Anderson and Sullivan, 1993; Boulding et al., 1993; Woodside et al., 1989). Nevertheless, very few studies on behavioral consequences have been conducted in the setting of electronic commerce. One exceptional inquiry, conducted by Choi et al.(2000), employed an exploratory factor analysis to extract three dimensions: loyalty, tolerance, and complaining, in the internet retail store context. Overall satisfaction significantly affected only the first two factors.
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