Title: Antecedents and consequences of customer-service provider relationship strength

Authors: Sandy Ng; Meredith E. David; Tracey S. Dagger

Addresses: School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University, Building 80, Level 11, 445 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia. ' Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina, 1705 College Street, Columbia, South Carolina, USA. ' Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University, Level 6, Building S, 26 Sir John Monash Drive, Caulfield East, Victoria 3145, Australia

Abstract: Strong relationships are crucial to service industries as it reduces customer churn. This paper investigates the impact of relationship antecedents on relationship strength and its subsequent influence on attitudinal loyalty and share of wallet. Results from a structural equation model that utilises data from 591 consumers across nine different service types show confidence and social benefits, frequency, duration and relationship investment (driven by management and communication efforts) enhance relationship strength. Relationship strength drives attitudinal loyalty and share of wallet, with attitudinal loyalty mediating the relationship between relationship strength and share of wallet. This study investigates the factors that drive strong relationships and the importance of attitudinal loyalty as it mediates the relationship between relationship strength and share of wallet. This is the first study to simultaneously examine relationship benefits, investment and the frequency and duration of a relationship impact on relationship strength; and its subsequent influence on attitudinal and behavioural outcomes, in various service industries.

Keywords: service industries; relationship strength; relationship antecedents; share of wallet; SOW; attitudinal loyalty; SEM; structural equation modelling; mediation tests; service providers; customers; customer churn; confidence; social benefits; relationship investment; relationship frequency; relationship duration; attitudinal outcomes; behavioural outcomes; business environment.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBE.2013.050628

International Journal of Business Environment, 2013 Vol.5 No.3, pp.232 - 251

Received: 26 Mar 2012
Accepted: 11 Aug 2012

Published online: 30 Nov 2012 *

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