We know that the buyer purchase decision is not complete until assessment has taken place. We know that the result of assessment is that the buyer is either satisfied, resigned, or dissatisfied. Furthermore, we know that the buyer will engage in rather specific types of future behavior depending on whether he or she is satisfied, resigned, or dissatisfied. In this topic we are looking at the behaviour of buyers who are either satisfied or resigned to use the product. Buyer loyalty is the result of buyer satisfaction, and it is the result that most business managers seek when attempting to influence buyer behaviour.
Buyer Behaviour When Satisfied Or Resigned
The results of buyer decision making tend to be similar when the person is satisfied or resigned. For this reason we discuss these two results together. The three results involved with satisfied or resigned buyers are to discontinue product use, re-evaluate after each use, or engage in habitual use.’
Discontinue Product Use
A buyer can be completely satisfied with a product (goods and services) and still discontinue its use. A satisfactory product is discontinued when it has been purchased in response to a nonrecurring need. The product is used, but no repeat purchase is necessary. Once the doctor has taken out a patient’s appendix, there is no need for further service. The same can be said for the use of crutches, orthopedic shoes, retirement homes and many other types of products (goods and services).
Sellers of one-use products must continually seek different customers to use their products.2 These sellers typically know that a certain portion of the population requires the product at a given time. Effective promotion must keep potential customers advised of the product or service. The seller is interested in having satisfied customers because they become testimonials to others who may need the product or service.
Re-evaluate after Each Use
Many products are used by buyers, and they are satisfied, but they do not automatically purchase the same product the next time the need arises. Rather, the buyer engages in the entire purchase process again – including problem recognition, search, evaluation, selection, and assessment. This situation develops when there is no carryover satisfaction from one purchase to the next. For example, a person buys a Holden Statesman, likes the car, uses it regularly, and even recommends it to his or her friends. However, when time comes to purchase a new car, the buyer seeks out information on several different makes and models. Products that are subject to frequent modification and innovation – such as computers, typewriters, watches, automobiles, and those with a significant element of fashion such as dress clothing, shoes, and furniture – are most likely to be re-evaluated before each purchase.
Sellers of these products must be in the market continually influencing buyers to purchase their products. Product modification and personal selling, creative advertising, publicity, and the other means of promotion are regularly used for this purpose. Such methods are necessary because the buyer demonstrates no consistent loyalty to the firm or its products. Such customers are the most difficult to retain and the easiest to induce away from competitors. The buyer tends to be influenced by perceptions of which products lead the others in new ideas or style. Emotion plays a considerable part in the decision to buy, but the emotion must be backed up with realistic facts.
A resigned buyer may also use a product fully but seek a different solution the next time the need arises. This happens when the individual is neither highly dissatisfied nor highly satisfied with the product. There is not enough of a problem to change the product already bought, but the customer will seek a different product next time. An individual not completely comfortable with a new coat may wear it for a season until she or he can justify purchasing a different style. Continuing to use a type of shaving lotion although not completely satisfied is another example of making the best of a product until next time. Of course, marketing managers do not want their product in this category. The marketing manager must try to persuade the resigned buyer to become a satisfied buyer.
We know that habitual use occurs when a buyer purchases a product repeatedly without giving any real thought to alternative products or brands. This is the type of buying that most business managers seek. Figure 1 shows a product bought habitually by many buyers. Habitual buying can occur in two different situations. First, the buyer may be completely satisfied, and the satisfaction carries over from one need situation to another. For example, a person uses Dial soap, likes it, and sees no reason to consider any other soap. Many types of branded products, convenience products, and staple products are purchased habitually. Of course, there is no product or brand that is purchased habitually by everyone.
The second type of situation occurs when a buyer is resigned to the product’s use, but nonetheless purchases routinely. This can happen when the customer is not completely satisfied, but the buyer perceives the product as the best one available. A person buys a Trim fingernail clipper but is not completely satisfied because the file is not effective. The individual continues to use the Trim repeatedly because he or she perceives that none of the other files included with fingernail clippers are any more effective. The buyer may not be sufficiently concerned to seek an alternative solution. Almost any type of product can fall into this type of repeat purchase. It is primarily a matter of how the buyer considers that product and the alternatives.