Customer satisfaction is an important issue for marketing managers, particularly those in services industries. However, it appears that achieving customer satisfaction is often the end goal, as evidenced by the emphasis on customer satisfaction surveys. This paper proposes that this focus is due to the assumption that satisfied customers are loyal customers and thus high levels of satisfaction will lead to increased sales. As a result of this assumption, customer satisfaction is often used as a proxy for loyalty and other outcomes. The authors empirically demonstrate that satisfaction is not the same as attitudinal loyalty and that there are instances where satisfaction does not result in loyalty. A business sample was selected due to the relevance of satisfaction and attitudes in settings of high risk where a high level of decision making is involved. A sample of 267 businesses was surveyed on their satisfaction and attitudinal loyalty levels towards an advertising service. The results indicate that satisfaction and loyalty in a business services setting are different constructs, and that, while the relationship is positive, high levels of satisfaction do not always yield high levels of loyalty.
Journal of Services Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 2004
Keywords: Customer satisfaction; Customer loyalty; Services; Business‐to‐business marketing
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