We study the determinants of consumer satisfaction with mobile phones on the basis of perceived product attribute performance and disconfirmation of product attribute expectations. Evaluability theory assumes that perceived attribute performance has a larger effect on consumer satisfaction for easy- than for difficult-to-evaluate attributes after product acquisition. Furthermore, we use predictions of asymmetric evaluations for gains and losses from prospect theory in combination with evaluability theory. Although evaluability theory is not directly comparable with expectation disconfirmation theory, we study the effects of asymmetric evaluations of positive and negative disconfirmation of product attribute expectations on consumer satisfaction for both easy- and difficult-to-evaluate attributes.
We have conducted a survey among 205 mobile phone users, in which we gathered data on the difficulty of product attribute evaluations, perceived performance, attribute expectation disconfirmation and consumer satisfaction. We found partial support for perceived performance of easy-to-evaluate attributes to affect satisfaction more than perceived performance of difficult-to-evaluate attributes, in line with predictions from evaluability theory. However, for expectation disconfirmation, our findings generally indicated a relatively large effect of negative product attribute disconfirmation for difficult-to-evaluate attributes on consumer satisfaction, as compared with both positive attribute disconfirmation, and disconfirmation of easy-to-evaluate attributes. We discuss both theoretical and managerial implications of our findings.