The role of expectations, ambiguity of information, and initial impressions in consumer satisfaction assessments: a process oriented approach



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Texas Tech University


Interest in the field of consumer satisfaction and dissatisfaction has grown at a phenomenal rate over the last decade. As markets are become increasingly competitive both nationally and internationally, organizations are recognizing the critical nature of cultivating and maintaining satisfied and, thus (presumably), loyal customers (TARP 1986). Even so, it has been estimated that one in five shopping experiences leads to some form of consumer dissatisfaction (Andreasen and Best 1977). The dissatisfied consumer may be a lost consumer forever and the cost of losing a consumer usually exceeds the cost of trying to satisfy and retain a consumer (Clark et al. 1992). According to Rosenberg and Czepiel (1983), the effect on company profits is a $118 loss for every lost consumer, while the cost of trying to maintain a satisfied consumer is only $20. Despite the interest of marketers, the prevalence of dissatisfied consumers persists and is a costly problem.

The research presented here attempts to address the still-unanswered questions behind both the causes and consequences of (dis)satisfaction. The research incorporates a proven, though often criticized, model of consumer satisfaction (the disconfirmation of expectations paradigm) in an attempt to specify the conditions under which a consumer may arrive at a (dis)satisfaction assessment.



Consumer satisfaction