John Stanton University of Western Sydney
Jonathon Hu University of Western Sydney
An exploratory study was conducted to obtain a better understanding of customer complaint behaviour (CCB) in Saudi Arabian electrical goods retailing. Recognising the purchasing presence of a large, non-Saudi resident population linked to guest workers, the study also sought to explore differences and similarities in CCB between Saudis and one non-Saudi group, in this case resident Filipinos. Drawing from the CCB literature, two questions were considered: When dissatisfied with a product, how do the customers proceed to complain? Do differences in complaining behaviour exist between Saudi and Filipino customers residing in Saudi Arabia? Using a single product category (electrical goods encompassing products ranging from electronics to whitegoods) and restricting responses to customers encountering a dissatisfying experience in this category, a mixed methods approach of focus groups, interviews with complaining customers and store managers, and observation of complainants, were used to gather data.
The findings from the three methods were triangulated to bring out common themes as well as differences between the two groups. The mix of these research methods was able to distinguish subtleties within common themes. Accounts of experiences as well as observations of behaviour at complaint counters provided rich insights. While the expectations of customers deciding to complain appeared outwardly similar, Saudis often had stronger demands, both in terms of how they expected to be heard and in terms of remedies expected. Different styles of complaining can also be distinguished between the two groups, as well how they chose to complain. The research approach itself also provides insights into the suitability of particular research methods in different cultures while the exploratory findings justify further research into CCB in Saudi Arabia using methods and sample sizes that permit generalisation.
customer; complaining behaviour; Saudi Arabia; Filipino; Saudi; differences