Customer relationship dynamics

Service quality and customer loyalty in the context of varying levels of customer expertise and switching costs

Simon J. Bell, Sei Auh, Karen Smalley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

238 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As customer-organization relationships deepen, consumers increase their expertise in the firm's product line and industry and develop increased switching costs. This study investigates the effects of customer investment expertise and perceived switching costs on the relationships between technical and functional service quality and customer loyalty. Technical service quality is hypothesized to be a more important determinant of customer loyalty than functional service quality as expertise increases. Both technical and functional service quality are hypothesized to have a reduced relationship with customer loyalty as perceived switching costs increase. Three-way interactions between the main effects of service quality, customer expertise, and perceived switching costs yield additional insight into the change in relative importance of technical and functional service quality in customers' decision to be loyal. Six of eight hypotheses receive support. Implications are discussed for customer relationship management over the relationship life cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-183
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Expertise
Switching costs
Service quality
Customer relationship
Customer loyalty
Quality of service
Product line
Customer relationship management
Technical services
Industry
Customer services quality
Relative importance
Life cycle
Interaction

Keywords

  • Customer expertise
  • Loyalty
  • Service quality
  • Switching costs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing
  • Economics and Econometrics

Cite this

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