Expanding business-to-business customer relationships: Modeling the customer's upgrade decision

Ruth Bolton, Katherine N. Lemon, Peter C. Verhoef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


This article develops a model of a business customer's decision to upgrade service contracts conditional on the decision to renew the contract. It proposes that the firm's upgrade decision is influenced by (1) decision-maker perceptions of the relationship with the supplier, (2) contract-level experiences, and (3) interactions between firm-and contract-level variables. The authors model the firm's decision as a binary logit model with random parameters for the contract-level variables and fixed parameters for the firm-level variables. They estimate the model with data describing more than 2000 service contracts and find that decision-maker satisfaction, service quality, and price have a significant effect on the decision to upgrade; price and satisfaction also moderate the effect of service quality on the decision. Simulations indicate that modest improvements in service quality for a focal contract can have a relatively large, positive effect on the likelihood that the firm will upgrade. The results suggest that suppliers need to manage their firm relationships at both the individual contract level and the overall firm level. In addition, the results suggest specific windows of opportunity for suppliers when firms may be more likely to upgrade to higher-level service contracts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-64
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008


  • Customer relationships
  • Retention
  • Satisfaction
  • Service quality
  • Upgrades

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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