Bose Corporation – Customer Satisfaction Research Paper

Description

Here is the question:

The Bose Corporation, makers of high-end speakers, headphones, etc., has noted a decrease in the customer satisfaction levels with their customer support system, primarily their telephone support (1-800-379-2073). The primary issue appears to be perceived wait time; how long people feel they have been on-hold (in a queue), waiting for service. As customer satisfaction is very important to Bose, they are interested in improving it at this point of customer contact (the call center). They are looking to improve this measure (without the major investment of expanding the call center and the number of people answering telephones). What, if anything can be done to mitigate this problem?

Write a research paper by following the following attachement, you must meet al the requirement from these two attachement. Following the “Part two template” and finish writing this paper.

Part II – Research Design
This part of the assignment will consist of a description of primary, applied/empirical, research (e.g.
customer or potential customer surveys) to address the specific information requirements of the
situation. This is a description of “applied” research to be conducted to provide knowledge that
will assist in the decision making for your assigned problem.
You will describe: 1) the specific information to be collected (i.e., the variable(s) to be measured),
2) the relevance of the information to the decision process, and 3) the methodology by which the
information will be collected (the research design). The methodology is where the researcher
identifies the specific steps that will be taken to collect the information needed to answer the
research questions.
The design of an unbiased research methodology is the focus of the second part of this course. It is
imperative that you understand, and can control, the potential sources of bias in a study.
Format:
I. Introduction
An explanation of the decision to be made (or problem solved or issue addressed). An
explanation as to what information will be generated and how that information would be used
to assist in the decision process for the problem assigned. This section should provide a clear
description of the concepts to be studied and the variables that will be measured.
II. Research Plan
A description of the methodology/research plan. (See below)
III. Conclusion
A summary that ties together the sources of information (From both Part I and Part II of this
term assignment) to demonstrate a comprehensive covering of the relevant information. Note:
the conclusion of the paper cannot, for obvious reasons, present the results of your proposed
research. But it should present a summary of how the information to be gained will inform
the decision to be made.
Research Plan:
Identify the type of research to be conducted: exploratory, descriptive and/or causal/experimental
(and your logic for your decision).
The research design will:
a) Define the nature of the information to be collected,
b) Identify the population of interest, the sampling frame, and the sample from which the data
will be collected,
c) Describe the instrument (e.g., questionnaire) to be used to collect the information –
including scales to be used,
d) Outline the fielding technique (the data collection method for administering the
questionnaire, incentives, etc.), and
e) Explicitly state any known shortcomings of the research design.
When causal/experimental studies are proposed, this section should also define the experimental
design to be used to control threats to internal and external validity. For complex hypotheses, this
section will also include a description of the method by which subjects will be assigned to the
various experimental and control groups.
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2
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Introduction and Background
It is important for any successful company to know not only how its consumers view its
product, but also how they view the company itself. Chiquita Brand International includes
various food product lines including, but not limited to bananas and other whole fruits, prepackaged healthy snacks (i.e. sliced apples), fruit drinks and the Fresh Express salads line.
Chiquita has had over one hundred years of operation in Colombia. It began as the United Fruit
Company, which was a well known U.S. army backed opponent to agrarian reform and
agricultural workers’ union (Howard, 2007). They were later known as United Brands in 1970
and Chiquita in 1989. In 1928 laborers began a strike for contracts promising better working
conditions and shorter working hours. This strike became nationally known when the army fired
on strikers during one of their demonstrations. The workers have gone on strike more than 40
times during the company’s history, with protection from the army and marines. In 1930 Juan
Pablo Wainwright, a workers union leader, was assassinated (Howard, 2007). Years following
would be similar as workers kept striking demanding fairer labor practices.
The most recent cause of negative publicity occurred on March 2007, when an indictment
was filed in U.S. District Court, charging Chiquita, through their Colombian company Banadex,
with “engaging in transactions with a specially-designated global terrorist”. It charged that
Chiquita, from 1997 through February 2004, paid the AUC (Auto Defensas Unidas de Colombia)
directly or indirectly almost every month. They made over 100 payments totaling $1.7 million.
On September 10, 2001, the United States designated the AUC a Foreign Terrorist Organization,
making it a crime for any United States person to provide material support or resources,
including money and currency to AUC. The United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is
described as a violent right-wing organization in Columbia that engaged in illegal activities
4
including kidnapping and murder. In March 2007, a plea agreement was filed with the courts.
Chiquita entered a plea of guilty to “Engaging in Transactions with a Specially-Designated
Global Terrorist”. They agreed to pay a criminal fine of $25 million and agreed to corporate
probation of 5 years. In September 2007, Chiquita’s plea agreement was accepted and entered
into the record (Department of Justice, 2007).
Chiquita has endured a long history of negative publicity but in recent years has made
great strides in addressing and changing its image. In 1996, Chiquita allotted $20 million to
overhaul the environmental and employment standards at all its 127 farms, which employ 30,000
workers in seven Latin American countries. Today all of its company-owned farms and
independently owned farms conform and are certified by the Rainforest Alliance (Alsever,
2006). Looking to the future, Chiquita must continue to address the negative publicity to avoid
what could be a disastrous affect on its product lines and brand image.
Effects of Negative Publicity
According to Dahlén and Lange’s (2006) literature review for their own study,
“…negative publicity research uncovers a number of effects on the focal brand, such as reducing
effectiveness of the company’s advertising, damaging reputation reducing brand equity, negative
attitudes, and unfavorable associations” (p. 388). Any publicity damage from one product can
contaminate the brand and negatively impact another food product line.
A negative change in consumers’ opinion and attitudes can quickly affect the company’s
sales. Therefore, it is critical for the company to determine whether the negative publicity has
affected consumers’ opinion and attitudes so that it may take the appropriate measures to restore
its image. Previous studies have found that “negative publicity, in particular, has the potential to
damage corporate image. This is due to its high credibility as well as the negativity effect, a
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tendency for negative information to be weighted more than positive information in the
evaluation of people, objects, and ideas” (Hal Dean, 2004). Understanding what the current
consumer views are will help Chiquita to better strategize and develop business plans that will
address any potential crisis.
Company response to negative publicity is a critical element affecting consumer attitude
towards the company and the brand (Menon, Jewell, & Unnava, 1999). The way Chiquita
addressed the situation by going to the Department of Justice and then accepting the plea
agreement will way favorably in consumers’ minds. And although they did continue the
payments even after notifying the Justice department, they explained their actions as safety
precautions for the Columbian workers until they were able to sell the company.
A company response in the face of negative publicity can take multiple forms: outright
denial, no comment, redirect audience attention, voluntary admission of guilt, compliance
with regulatory authority and implicit admission of guilt, admission of guilt and
voluntary proactive restitution action (Sherell and Reidenbach 1986). Still another listing
of specific responses outlined in Reidenbach et al. (1987) includes instinctive reaction to
or denial of all allegations, stonewalling tactics in which a company responds by saying
that they “would fight all the way,” formal compliance as a result of intervention by a
governmental agency, or seizing the initiative etc., to name a few.
(Menon, Jewell, Unnava, p. 325)
Menon, Jewell, and Unnava’s research also supported the view that a strong response
from the company in a negative publicity crisis will create a more positive attitude from the
consumer than if the company had been passive or in denial of the crisis. Fernando Aguirre,
Chairman and CEO of Chiquita Brands International, Inc., himself acknowledged that although
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the company had been making payments to a terrorist group, Chiquita went to the Department of
Justice when it was discovered the payments were illegal. He states “Chiquita is completely
committed to corporate responsibility and compliance. The fact that we voluntarily came forward
and disclosed the payments to the paramilitaries did not simply acknowledge an illegal act, it
proved our willingness to take responsibility for our actions, even when such a step comes at
considerable cost” (Aguirre, 2007). This type of strong response is what will help to keep
Chiquita positive in their consumers’ views.
Hypothesis Development
The way Chiquita has decided to handle its publicity crisis will have had some type of
affect on their consumers’ attitudes. Consider the story of Tylenol’s capsule poisoning. In 1982,
when seven people in the Chicago area died after taking Tylenol extra-strength capsules laced
with cyanide many business and marketing experts forecasted that this was the end of the
Tylenol brand (Yang & Levenson, 2007). This expectation, however, did not take into account
the maker of Tylenol, Johnson & Johnson’s determination to protect its product, reputation, and
brand equity. In fact, the company went on the offensive by recalling 31 million bottles of
capsules from the market and by organizing a massive advertisement campaign to inform the
public. Burke, the CEO of Johnson & Johnson became the face of Tylenol appearing on many
TV programs such as 60 Minutes in order to persuade the public that the scandal was a result of
an isolated criminal act rather than a defect originating from his company. This strategy, along
with the company’s perseverance ultimately paid off. In fact, just a few months later, the brand’s
food store share of the analgesic market bounced back to 29.9 percent from 6.5 percent the week
after the poisonings (Advertising Age, 1999).
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In contrast to Tylenol’s approach, Exxon’s actions did nothing to effectively address their
negative publicity crisis. In 1989, an oil tanker named Exxon Valdez spilled 10.9 million gallons
of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound, Alaska. It was one of the worst environmental
disasters in U. S. history (Christian Science Monitor, 2002). Consequently, the media quickly
took control of the situation broadcasting pictures of birds suffocating from the oil and dead fish
on the shore. These images quickly traveled across the world plummeting Exxon’s corporate
image to its lowest point. What made the situation even worst for the company, however, was
that its managers did not use the media to disseminate information to the public. In fact, Exxon
conducted all of its communications from the small town of Valdez, Alaska. With very limited
communication capabilities, this remote site was inadequate and Exxon seemed unwilling to
disseminate its information using any other method or location. Instead, it told reporters “it was
Valdez or nothing.” Worst yet, Exxon’s executives were often inconsistent and often provided
contradictory information, leading the public to question the credibility and truthfulness of
Exxon.” Despite the billions of dollars that Exxon paid in fines and other settlements, the
company’s image was permanently tarnished. Customers were so angered against the corporation
that many of them discontinued their Exxon credit cards and boycotted Exxon products
(Christian Science Monitor, 2002).
By understanding how its consumers feel about the company today, Chiquita can learn
what they can do to better address future crisis. The variables in this study are the consumer
attitudes and opinions and the negative publicity. The company’s negative publicity is the
independent variable which this study will research to see if it has had a causal relationship on
the dependent variable, or consumer attitudes and opinions.
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H1:
In the United States market, Chiquita’s negative publicity affected consumer
opinion and attitudes towards the Chiquita brand.
H0:
In the United States market, Chiquita’s negative publicity did not affect consumer
opinion and attitudes towards the Chiquita brand.
Operationally, the research will view consumer attitudes as having three possibilities. Either,
consumers dislike the brand, like the brand, or are neutral about it. The limitation of this,
however, is the lack of a baseline to compare the responses to; therefore the affect of the negative
publicity will be assessed by reviewing the answers within the survey. The questions will
address how important company morals and ethics are to that particular consumer when selecting
a product to purchase. This study will be essentially a baseline for any future research studies on
consumer attitudes on Chiquita.
Methodology: Questionnaire Design & Development
This study will conduct a survey to generate data on consumers’ attitudes towards
Chiquita as well as corporate image itself. The objectives of the survey are as follows:

To identify the major influence on consumer food choices

To identify sources of information used by consumers to make their food selections

To examine how consumers view bad publicity

To determine how consumers view corporate ethics in general

To examine how consumers view Chiquita

To characterize the “typical” Chiquita consumer
(Kearney, Kearney, Gibney, p S3)
The survey will be a combination of closed and open-ended questions. It will also
provide some socio-demographic information. There should be some disparity between the
answers from different areas of the country. The disparity should mirror the culture of each
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region. Since most of the negative publicity took place in South America, it is expected that the
immigrants or descendants from that area will have a more vocal and negative view of the
publicity than someone from the northeast who may not even be aware of the negative publicity
that has occurred.
To obtain a sample reflective of the population, the sample selection for this study will
need to be a more than just a random selection of subjects in one area of the country. The United
States is a combination, or as many people say, a ‘melting pot’ of cultures from around the
world. Some areas are denser in one culture than another. Take for example, Miami, Florida, a
city that has an extremely large Cuban population due to its proximity to Cuba, cannot be
compared to Boston, Massachusetts, a city known for its Irish roots. To avoid bias, and get the
best random selection, we will have to repeat the survey throughout the different regions of the
United States. A list will be purchased from one of the online research companies, such as NPD
Online Research, Harris Interactive, or Greenfield Online, to address the need for a random
sample of the entire population.
There are four regions from which a minimum of 100 samples will be selected. They are:
Northwest, South, West and Midwest. For a more in depth study it is recommended that the U.S.
market be divided into 9 divisions: New England Division, Middle Atlantic Division, East North
Central Division, West North Central Division, South Atlantic Division, East South Central
Division, West South Central Division, Mountain Division and Pacific Division. This will ensure
a more random selection of the population that will more accurately reflect the U.S. market (U.S.
Census Bureau, 2000).
Once the sample has been selected, the survey will be administered by the online research
company. Since there will be a minimum of 100 samples from each of the regions, it would be
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impractical as well as time- and cost-prohibited to conduct face-to-face surveys with all the
sample subjects. The online survey will also avoid other threats to validity such as testing and
experimental interaction, as well as adverse reactive variations to the test itself.
The survey answers will be reviewed and a synopsis of each region will be created
summarizing the attitudes and opinions of each region. This information can be used to pinpoint
areas of the United States where Chiquita’s image is poorly viewed, as well as, where Chiquita
may have an opportunity to expand future product lines.
Threats to Validity
As mentioned above the potential threats to validity include sample bias and survey
limitations. Sample bias will be avoided by using an online research company of Chiquita’s
choice generate a random sampling of subjects. Survey limitations will require the study to be
more qualitative than quantitative in nature since the results cannot be compared to a prior study
result.
The instrument used is itself a threat to validity in that it will not allow for any subjects
without internet access. There is no other method planned at this moment to capture these
sample subjects, however, if Chiquita decides to continue with this research, more in-depth
surveys or face-to-face interviews can be designed. The questions will also be randomized each
time the survey is administered to minimize bias. Another threat to validity stems from the
answers themselves in that they will reflect the socio-demographic of the respondent. Analysis
of the survey answers will have to take in to account the culture of each respondent to avoid
response bias.
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Conclusion
This study will take approximately six months to complete not including the three month
preparation period.
Month 1:
Sign contract for research study’s statement of work
Contract regional research companies to begin collecting the sample for
their region
Month 2:
Finalize the questionnaire
Month 3:
Month 4-7:
Email all samples
Analyze each survey response
Month 8:
Write report analyzing the data
Month 9:
Submit final results to Chiquita
Assist Chiquita representatives in understanding the analysis and how it
relates to Chiquita
Final cost of this study, not including the contracting of the research companies, is $100,000. A
retainer of $25,000 will be due at the signing of the contract, with the final payment due upon
delivery of the final report.
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REFERENCES
Howard, April (2007, April 3). Chiquita in Colombia: Terrorism Gone Bananas?[Online
exclusive]. Retrieved from
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id
Department of Justice. (2007). Chiquita Brands International Pleads Guilty to Making Payments
to a Designated Terrorist Organization And Agrees to Pay $25 Million Fine [Press
release]. Retrieved from http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2007/March/07_nsd_161.html
Alsever, Jennifer (2006). Chiquita Cleans Up Its Act. Fortune, 154(11), 73-74. doi: 11.2706
Dahlén, Micael & Lange, Fedrick (2006). A Disaster Is Contagious: How a Brand in Crisis
Affects Other Brands. Journal of Advertising Research, 46, 388-397. doi:
10.2501/S0021849906060417
Hal Dean, Dwane (2004) Consumer Reaction to Negative Publicity, Effects of Corporate
Reputation, Response, and Responsibility for a Crisis Event Journal of Business
Communication, 41(s),192-211 doi: 10.1177/0021943603261748
Menon, Geeta & Jewell, Robert D. & Unnava, H. Rao (1999). When a Company Does Not
Respond to Negative Publicity: Cognitive Elaboration vs. Negative Affect Perspective.
Advances in Consumer Research, 26. 325-329. doi: 10.1177/0021943603261748
Sherell, D.L. and Reidenbach Eric R. (1986), “A Consumer Response Framework for Negative
Publicity: Suggestions for Response Strategies”, Akron Business and Economic Review,
17 (2), Summer, 37-44.
Aguirre, Fernando. (2007). An Excruciating Dilemma Between Life and Law: Corporate
Responsibility in a Zone of Conflict [White paper]. Retrieved from
http://www.uschamber.com/bclc/resources/newsletter/2007/chiquita_newsletter_april200
7.htm
Yang, Jia Lynn, & Levenson, Eugenia (2007). Getting a Handle on a Scandal. Fortune, 155(10),
20-20. Retrieved from http://0web.ebscohost.com.helin.uri.edu/ehost/detail?vid=12&hid=112&sid=054c16b1-73a749e0-ae259f3d565fc33d%40sessionmgr111&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a
ph&AN=25134348
Advertising Age. (1999). ‘Trust us’ Tylenol ads working, 70(50), 77-77. Retrieved from http://0web.ebscohost.com.helin.uri.edu/ehost/detail?vid=42&hid=112&sid=4bfe1b77-e2c3478a-80d4b928c3624433%40sessionmgr104&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a
ph&AN=2558344
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Hartill, Lane (1998). The Exxon Valdez. Christian Science Monitor, 90(197), 9. Retrieved from
http://0-web.ebscohost.com.helin.uri.edu/ehost/detail?vid=89&hid=112&sid=4bfe1b77e2c3-478a-80d4b928c3624433%40sessionmgr104&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a
ph&AN=1023546
Kearney, M., Kearney, JM. & Gibney, MJ. (1997). Methods used to conduct the survey on
consumer attitudes to food, nutrition and health on nationally representative samples of
adults from each member state of the European Union. European Journal of Clinical
Nutrition. 51, S3-S7. Retrieved from http://0web.ebscohost.com.helin.uri.edu/ehost/pdf?vid=3&hid=112&sid=a442370f-a9ef-4ac29b80-d86e9c7466c8%40sessionmgr104
SuperSurvey [Samples of survey questions] Retrieved from http://knowledgebase.supersurvey.com/survey-questions.htm
Chiquita. (2008, February 19). Chiquita Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2008 Results
[Press release]. Retrieved from http://phx.corporateir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=119836&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1258329&highlight=
U.S. Census Bureau. (2000). Retrieved from
http://www2.census.gov/census_2000/datasets/demographic_profile/0_National_Summar
y/2khus.pdf
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APPENDIX: RESEARCH STUDY SURVEY
Please answer the following questions based on your personal views and experiences:
How many times per month do you purchase groceries for your household?
Never
1
2
3
4
5 or more times per week
How many times a week do you purchase fruits & vegetables?
Never
1
2
3
4
5 or more times per week
How important is each category to you when purchasing fruits and vegetables?
Freshness
Not important
1
2
3
4
5 Very important
Not important
1
2
3
4
5 Very important
Not important
1
2
3
4
5 Very important
1
2
3
4
5 Very important
1
2
3
4
5 Very important
1
2
3
4
5 Very important
Price
Brand
Company image
Not important
Organic
Not important
Locally grown produce
Not important
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How important is a company’s business ethics to you when making a purchase?
Not important
1
2
3
4
5 Very important
Which brands are you familiar with?
Dole
Fresh Express
Chiquita
DelMonte
Which brands do you purchase?
Dole
Fresh Express
Chiquita
DelMonte
Which brands do you not purchase?
Dole
Fresh Express
Chiquita
DelMonte
Please explain…
If you disagree with a company’s business decisions will you still buy their product?
Yes
Unsure
No
16
Please explain…
Have you ever purchased Chiquita products?
Yes
No
Have you reduced your purchases of Chiquita products over the past six months?
Yes
No
Please explain…
What do think of when you see the Chiquita logo?
Do you think Chiquita is a socially responsible company?
Yes
No
17
Please explain…
What should Chiquita do to keep you as a valued customer?
Have you heard or read anything about Chiquita in the media this past year?
Yes
No
Please explain…
Did the media coverage have any impact on your purchases of Chiquita products?
Yes
No
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Please explain…
19
Enter your zip code:
Age
under 20
21 – 30
31 – 40
41 – 50
51 – 60
over 61
Marital Status
Single
Married
Divorced
Sex
Male
Female
Highest Education Level Completed
High School or Equivalent
College
Post College
Employment Status
Employed
Unemployed
Retired
Student
Primary Caregiver
20
What is your ethnicity/race?
White
African American
Asian
Hispanic/Latin
Native American
Other
What did you think of this survey?
Would you be interested in taking another survey in the future?
Thank you

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