The buying process does not end when a customer purchases a product; there are many different categories of behaviors that results from a purchase. Normally, the consumer is unsure of his/her decision on completing a sale; this type of behavior is called post purchase evaluation stage. First there are three different outcomes of these evaluations when product performance matches “expectations, leading into a neutral feeling. Secondly performance exceeds expectations causing what is known as positive disconfirmation of expectations which leads to satisfaction.
Finally there is performance that falls below consumers’ expectations creating negative disconfirmation of satisfaction. Cognitive dissonance is inner tension that a consumer experiences after recognizing an inconsistency between behavior and values or opinions. Once a purchase decision is made, the next step in the process is the evaluation of the product after purchase. Consumers expect certain outcomes from the purchase, and how well these expectations are met, determines the level of customer satisfaction.
Consumer Decision Making, Chapter 05 Slide 15).
“The theory of cognitive dissonance, developed by Festinger in the 1950s, is that when a person experiences conflicting ideas, states of emotion, or feelings, they will be driven to reduce this state of tension and will take action to return to consonance (the opposite of dissonance). ” Now that I know what cognitive dissonance is, I can only remember a hand full of purchases where I experienced cognitive dissonance.
I had bought Clorox disinfectant wipes from a local Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market; they came in a package of three and seemed to be a great deal, however later that day I had found out that the Wal-Mart Supercenter and Sam’s Club had the exact same product and size for two and a half dollars less. Of course when I found out, I was distraught at myself for not shopping around. I was thinking to return it, however prior to hearing about the sale from neighbor, I had opened it.
I was not disappointed in the Clorox wipes themselves, but only in finding out sale to late. Two particular products or services that I believe are at a higher risk of causing cognitive dissonance are buying a house and housekeeping. When you buy a house you have many stressful thoughts. First you think I have to unpack; should I get moving company to do it? , Did I buy the right house? , Did I get a good deal? , and etc. Along with buying a house, you normally have to get the house cleaned before you move in.
With housekeeping you may think, am I getting a great deal, or price, quality, and did I not check into companies enough? I only know this answer because I have just bought a house this week, it is very stressful to move and being overwhelm plus having cognitive dissonance about your selection, only makes matters worse. Consumers can reduce cognitive dissonance by seeking information that reinforces positive ideas about the purchase, such as personal references like family and friends, or reviews from websites by other buyers of the same product.
Secondly, avoiding information that contradicts the purchase decision and also revoking the original decision by returning the product. Marketers can reduce cognitive dissonance also. First marketers can minimize through effective communication due for one reason only, they do not the product back (I believe), also marketers following up with customers satisfaction, offer guarantees, and warranties.