Purpose – This paper seeks to investigate the effects of relationship benefits on relationship quality and aspects of service quality, namely technical and functional quality, and the subsequent influence on word‐of‐mouth behavior. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reports results from a structural equation model that utilizes data from 591 consumers across a range of services. Findings – The findings highlight the important role of relationship benefits in driving customer perceptions of technical, functional and relationship quality. While confidence, social and special treatment benefits drive technical and functional quality, it is only confidence benefits that drive relationship quality. Furthermore, it is found that functional and relationship quality drive word‐of‐mouth behavior. Research limitations/implications – The findings of this study contribute to the literature by showing the differential impact that relationship benefits have on quality – technical, functional, and relationship – and subsequently the effect that functional and relationship quality have on word‐of‐mouth behavior. Practical implications – The paper provides firms with the knowledge needed to more effectively implement relationship‐marketing activities. As the service economy continues to grow, competition intensifies, and to ensure service excellence, firms need to establish strong relationships with their customers as the quality of the customer‐provider relationship can increase word‐of‐mouth behavior. Originality/value – The paper empirically investigates the role of relationship benefits in enhancing perceptions of quality while also providing an analysis of the differential role of functional, technical, and relationship quality in enhancing customers' word‐of‐mouth intentions.
Managing Service Quality – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 22, 2011
Keywords: Relationship marketing; Customer services quality; Interpersonal communications; Service delivery
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