In this article, the authors examine the roles that price, performance, and expectations play in determining satisfaction in a discrete service exchange. The authors maintain that the price fluctuations common to the many service industries that implement demand-oriented pricing, combined with the inherent heterogeneity of service performance, likely result in price-performance combinations that vary widely. Furthermore, the authors propose that the level of price-performance consistency in a service exchange moderates the relationship between performance expectations and subsequent performance and satisfaction judgments. When price and performance are consistent, expectations have an assimilation effect on performance and satisfaction judgments; when price and performance are inconsistent, expectations have no effect on performance and satisfaction judgments. To examine these issues, the authors develop a contingency model that they estimate using data from a multimedia experimental design. The results generally support the contingency framework and provide empirical support for normative guidelines that call for creating realistic performance expectations and offering money-back service guarantees.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management