Electronic Information Systems Usage by the Consumers' of Agro-Food Products for Expressing Complaints

Electronic Information Systems Usage by the Consumers' of Agro-Food Products for Expressing Complaints

Costas Assimakopoulos (Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/IJAEIS.2018100103

Abstract

In this article, consumer dissatisfaction of agro-food products is studied. Specifically, the main reasons for triggering dissatisfaction are identified and ranked. Additionally, the factors that affect consumer's complaining behavior is also studied and the level of complaining adoption are investigated. Moreover, consumer's future intention to complain traditionally or electronically is depicted. Here, an important difference has been detected. The future intention will be stronger and by electronic means. The study has identified that the electronic information systems, although not popular for the time being in the area of agro-food products, have a great possibility to be used in the future due to the intention of the consumers to intensify their complaining behavior as an easy way to achieve strengthening of the effects of their complaints.
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Introduction

Sustainability of agro food product companies is in the epicenter of the entrepreneurship in an environment of economic crisis that severely benchmarks the market. This can be achieved by the so called defensive marketing. One pylon of the latter is the individualization of the marketing scheme applied by a company. It means that the company is interested to know everything about each individual customer and adapt the marketing to his/her special characteristics. Hence, in order to achieve that, complains should be increased so as the company knows about the individual’s needs. The ability of an enterprise to handle the complaints of its customers has become one of the most controversial issues and a focal-point in the business field. Many firms have utilized the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for improving customer services and actually increasing customer satisfaction. Service/product providers that fail to follow their customers’ expectations and keep in track with changes in customers’ preferences, put their firm’s existence in danger (Tsoukatos, 2008).

It has been found in the literature that the individual character and the severity of service failures affects the extent of the consumer’s complaining behaviour (Bolfing, 1989; Day & Bodur, 1978). For instance, as the severity of dissatisfaction increases, so does the strength of complaining (Singh and Wilkes, 1996). Additionally, only a short percentage of not satisfied consumers complain directly to the business. Moreover, the literature has shown a variety of personal characteristics related to have an inclination to Negative Word Of Mouth (NWOM). Particularly, perceived control (Bodey & Grace, 2006) is positively related to NWOM. Additionally, self‐confidence (Bearden & Teel, 1983), is connected to complaining behaviours.

There are a lot of studies for the classification of the customer complaining behaviour (Day & Bodur, 1978). A division maybe action and no action, or others are characterised as private (e.g. WOM) and public (e.g. consumer advocate group). According to Singh (1990) complainers can be categorised into four types: those taking little or no action, those complaining actively to the service provider/product seller, those who opt for private responses, and finally, those who engage in formal third party complaining.

Although there are several studies that correlated consumer dissatisfaction to several types of consumer complaining behaviour, the factors affecting channel choice have not been determined yet. The channels that can be considered are segmented as follows. Boycott Brand/Product, Negative WOM, Seek Redress Directly, Legal Action, Complain to Agencies/Govt.

Nowadays, Negative WOM has turned into negative e-WOM due to the alternative electronic channels offered through Internet. Many social networking sites (SNSs) provide online platforms within which individuals and hence consumers communicate with others who have information or previous experience about products and/or services. In this context, online reviews play a key role in buying products and thus, social networking websites traffic has increased (Mauri & Minazzi, 2013). These reviews provide customers experience and offer recommendations to potential customers. This phenomenon is quite strong for some economical areas like the hotel industry for example, where Gretzel (2006) stresses that 77,9% of online users are affected in deciding “where to stay” based on online reviews. However, in areas like agro-food products this is slightly developed or not developed at all. This is a gap in the Literature and it exists due to the fact that agro-food companies especially in Greece are not mature enough to use the electronic means and/or not understand fully the need to store information regarding their customers.

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