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Seek and ye shall switch?: the dynamics of customer satisfaction, knowledge and confidence in online search for financial services information
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 16:32 authored by Nam Hoai Nguyen
The importance and the challenges of retaining customers have long been highlighted in the marketing literature, and many scholars have addressed the challenging topic of switching intention. Switching, however, implies a composite set of related behaviours consumers must be engaged in to replace a service provider. Given their multi-faceted and dynamic nature, research into those behaviours requires a holistic and sophisticated approach if it is to reveal deep insights into customer-provider relationship management and assist service businesses to strategically boost profitability and market share. Although previous researchers have examined switching intention, investigations of the relationships between knowledge, confidence, switching costs and information search, and the power of these factors to explain, switching behaviour, are scarce. Furthermore, the dynamic behaviour of customers has generally been studied with a narrow rather than a holistic perspective. This study, which applied the well-known Motivation-Opportunity-Ability (MOA) framework to explain consumer choice, is therefore necessary and valuable. Using this theoretical base, the study sought answers to three specific research questions: 1. Can MOA theory explain why some dissatisfied customers defect and why other dissatisfied customers stay loyal? 2. How does customer knowledge and confidence relate to customer satisfaction, switching cost and customer switching intention? 3. How does online searching behaviour affect switching intention? These research issues were investigated with a qualitative and quantitative two-stage methodological approach. In the first stage, qualitative exploratory data were gathered from 16 participants through in-depth interviews. Variables identified from the qualitative analysis and those from the literature review were synthesised to develop the experimental design for the quantitative research phase. This second stage used an online questionnaire and searching tasks. The Tobii X30 eye tracker was used to record customers‘ practices when searching for a better deal online. SPSS was used to analyse data collected in the quantitative phase. The finding from quantitative analysis confirmed that MOA is a useful framework for explaining switching intention. Overconfidence was not observed for all participants, but the hard-easy effect, a pervasive finding in overconfident literature, was detected. Self-confidence was identified as an important moderator for the relationship between satisfaction and switching intention. In particular, self-confidence positively moderated the relationship between satisfaction and customer retention. Information search was found to be an important variable affecting switching intention; information search moderates switching intention, reducing it when it is high but increasing it when it is low. In addition, sunk cost and finding a ―better deal‖ were found to be important moderators in the correlation between switching intention before search and switching intention after search. The research contributes both theoretically and practically to the fields of consumer behaviour marketing and services marketing. Theoretically, this study confirmed the advantage of MOA theory in explaining customer switching behaviour. In addition, the study also indicated the significant effect of customer online searching on switching intention. On the practical side, this research provides managers a comprehensive view about three important constructs namely customer motivation, opportunity and ability to explain switching intention. Moreover, this study also provides managers with a new understanding about the relationships among three constructs so they can control them effectively in reducing customer defection rate.