ABSTRACT

Purpose - This study aimed to investigate the effects of customer relationship quality and perceived power on complaint behaviors in a context of service failures in a restaurant. Two different types of complaint behaviors were employed: personal complaining that disappointed customers directly approach to a service manager and public complaining that customers ask for related institutions, like consumer protection organization, for help. This study also examined the moderation effects of brand reputation on the relationships between customer perceived power and two types of complaint behaviors. Research design, data, and methodology - The author developed a structural model in which customer relationship quality is proposed to affect customer perceived power, thus influencing personal and public complaint behaviors. The model also includes the moderating role of brand reputation; the effect of customer perceived power on two types of complaint behaviors becomes stronger when brand reputation is high. To analyze the research model, a survey based on a scenario regarding the contexts of service failures in a restaurant was conducted toward 126 female college students. SPSS 22.0 and AMOS 21.0 were utilized to test the hypotheses. Results - The findings are as follows. First, customers who had positive relationships with a restaurant are more likely to perceive that they have strong power to influence the service provider. Second, customer perceived power had a significant and positive effect on both personal and public complaint behaviors. Finally, when the brand reputation for a restaurant is high, dissatisfied customers who think they can exercise influence to the restaurant complain more actively toward the service provider. Conclusions – The findings of this study are against the traditional viewpoint on customer loyalty that loyal customers compared respond more generously to the mistakes of a company, but consistent with the ‘love becomes hate’ effect proposed by Grégoire, Tripp, and Legoux(2009). In complaining contexts, companies should manage customers with positive and strong relationship more carefully and strategically to prevent the expansion of economic and social risks from customers’ complaining behaviors. This is more significant for companies with strong brand reputations.

KEYWORD

Customer Relationship Quality, Customer Perceived Power, Customer Complaint Behavior, Brand Reputation.

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