Many theories have
been formed to understand the process by which customers form satisfaction
judgements. The heart of the satisfaction process is the comparison of what was
expected with the product or service’s performance – this process has
traditionally been described as the ‘confirmation / disconfirmation’ process.
First, customers would

 

form expectations prior to purchasing a
product or service. Second, consumption of or experience with the product or
service produces a level of perceived quality that is influenced by
expectations.

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If perceived performance is only slightly less than
expected performance, assimilation will occur, perceived performance will be
adjusted upward to equal expectations. If perceived performance lags
expectations substantially, contrast will occur, and the shortfall in the
perceived performance will be exaggerated.

Satisfaction can be determined by subjective (e.g.
customer needs, emotions) and objective factors (e.g. product and service
features).

According to Atkinson(1988), value for money, security
and courtesy of staff determines customer satisfaction and according to
Knutson(1988) comfort, convenience of location, prompt service, safety and
security, and friendliness of employees are important.

 

1.2.1
The Theory of Assimilation.

Festinger’s theory of dissonance (1957) forms the
basis for the theory of assimilation. The theory of dissonance states that the
consumer makes a sort of cognitive comparison between the expectations
regarding the product and the product’s perceived performance. If there is a
discrepancy between expectations and the product’s perceived performance, the
dissonance will not fail to appear. This point of view on post-usage evaluation
was introduced in the literature discussing satisfaction under the form of the
theory of assimilation. (Anderson, 1973)

According to Anderson, the consumers try to avoid
dissonance by adjusting their perceptions of a certain product, in order to
bring it closer to their expectations. In a similar way, the consumers can
reduce the tension resulted from the discrepancy between expectations and the
product’s performance, both by distorting the expectations so that they could
be in agreement with the product’s perceived performance, and by increasing the
level of satisfaction through minimizing the relative importance of
experimental disconfirmation (Olson and Dover, 1979).

 

The theory presumes the consumers are
motivated enough to adjust both their expectations and their product
performance perceptions. If the consumers adjust their expectations or product
performance perceptions, dissatisfaction would not be a result of the
post-usage process. Consumers can reduce the tension resulting from a
discrepancy between expectations and product/service performance either by distorting
expectations so that they coincide with perceived product performance or by
raising the level of satisfaction by minimizing the relative importance of the
disconfirmation experienced (Olson and Dover, 1979)

Some researchers have discovered that the control on
the actual product performance can lead to a positive relationship between
expectations and satisfaction. (Anderson, 1973)

Consequently, it is assumed that dissatisfaction could
never appear unless the evaluation process began with the customers’ negative
expectations.

 From the
research, it is found that the customers expect good quality products with
reasonable price, warranty, design and after sales service and it is found that
the customers are satisfied with the product and the service they got.

 

1.2.2
The Contrast Theory

 

Hovland, Harvey and Sherif (1987) first introduced
contrast theory. Dawes (1972) define contrast theory as the tendency to magnify
the discrepancy between one’s own attitudes and the attitudes represented by
opinion statements. Contrast theory presents an alternative view of the
consumer post-usage evaluation process than was presented in assimilation
theory in that post-usage evaluations lead to results in opposite predictions
for the effects of expectations on satisfaction. While assimilation theory posits
that consumers will seek to minimize the discrepancy between expectation and
performance, contrast theory holds that a surprise effect occurs leading to the
discrepancy being puffed up or exaggerated.

According to the contrast theory, any
discrepancy of experience from expectations will be overstated in the direction
of discrepancy. If the firm raises expectations in his advertising, and then a
customer’s experience is only slightly less than that promised, the
product/service would be rejected as very un-satisfactory. Conversely,
under-promising in advertising and over-delivering will cause positive
disconfirmation also to be exaggerated. From the research, it is found that
Hidesign were able to maintain their loyal customers which helped them to
increase market share as these loyal customers helped in promoting Hidesign by
recommending to their friends, relatives etc