Purpose – This paper seeks to explore the complex inter‐relationships between the attitudinal and behavioural dimensions of customer loyalty development, by examining the dynamic processes by which customer loyalty is initiated and sustained using a mixed methods approach. In doing so, the paper highlights the absence of valid and reliable measures of customer loyalty development and discusses the use of the multi‐phase model of customer loyalty development. Design/methodology/approach – This model is the basis for the construction of a multi‐item scale to measure customer loyalty development. A mixed methods design is specified and stages in the construction of the scale are discussed including measures of validity and reliability. Findings – The findings of the research demonstrate the validity and reliability of the loyalty scale and highlight the sustaining and mediating effects associated with different levels of loyalty development. Research limitations/implications – The study is set within the passenger ferry sector. Future research will seek to make empirical generalisations in relation to the application of the loyalty scale. Practical implications – The main implications of this research are to emphasise the importance of sustaining and developing customer loyalty based on a differentiated approach to rewarding customers who have different levels of loyalty development. The findings highlighted the need to acknowledge the importance of reciprocity in terms of which aspects of service customers value within different levels of loyalty. Originality/value – The main contributions of this paper are the presentation of the loyalty scale and the confirmation of the plateau of customer loyalty development.
Journal of Services Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 2005
Keywords: Customer loyalty; Customer service management; Consumer behaviour; Behaviourally‐anchored rating scales
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