, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 514-527

A voice from the silent masses: An exploratory and comparative analysis of noncomplainers

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Abstract

This study used a critical incident survey with both qualitative and quantitative sections to investigate noncomplainers. Noncomplainers are customers who experience service failures but do not voice complaints. The qualitative study (n=149) explored reasons why customers do not complain after experiencing service failures. In the quantitative study (n=530), two kinds of noncomplainers who either (a) received organization-initiated recoveries or(b) exited the encounters without recoveries were compared with three kinds of complaining customers who received (a) satisfactory recoveries, (b) dissatisfactory recoveries, or (c) no recoveries. The five customer groups were compared across repurchase intentions, negative affect, perceived regret, and intentions to engage in negative word of mouth. The results of the comparative analyses challenge existing views of noncomplainers’ repurchase intentions and negative outcome levels.

Clay M. Voorhees (voorhees@bus.msu.edu) is an assistant professor of marketing at Michigan State University. His research interests are in the areas of service decision making, consumer complaining behavior, customer equity, and the development and application of innovative research methods to service decision making models. Clay’s research has been published inJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, andJournal of Services Marketing.
Michael (“Mike”) K. Brady (mbrady@cob.fsu.edu) is an associate professor of marketing and director of the doctoral program at Florida State University. His research interests are in the areas of managing the service decision-making process, managing service failure, and the strategic ramifications of branding for service firms. Mike’s research has been published in theJournal of Marketing, Journal of Service Research, Journal of Retailing, Psychology & Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Services Marketing, International Journal of Service Industry Management, and other outlets. Mike has won both the M. Wayne Delozier Award for Best Conference Paper at the Academy of Marketing Science Conference and the Steven J. Shaw Award for Best Conference Paper at the Society for Marketing Advances Conference. Mike serves on the editorial review boards of theJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, andJournal of Retailing and was named an Outstanding Reviewer by theJournal of Retailing in 2004.
David M. Horowitz (dmh03@fsu.edu) is a marketing doctoral candidate at Florida State University whose interests include services marketing, cognitive anthropology research methods, and marketing and public policy issues. He completed his MBA at San Diego State University and holds a BS in industrial engineering from Stanford University. David’s research has been published in theJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science and the proceedings of national and regional conferences.