Purpose – Customer uncertainty of future contacts with the service provider creates a wide range of expectations of the relationship. Such variation and effective management of customer expectations have been not been well studied. The purpose of this research is to investigate the role of customers' expected future use in relationship based customer retention for continuously provided services, proposing and testing an empirical model that explores the interconnectedness of relationship quality, expected future use and customer retention. Design/methodology/approach – A theoretical framework is developed to suggest the role of expected future use in relationship‐based retention. Extant research from various academic fields, including marketing and psychology, is reviewed, deriving our hypotheses. Data collected from customers of a health club is examined through structural equation modeling (SEM). Findings – The study supports the assertion that that the effect of relationship quality (trust, commitment, and satisfaction) on service retention is mediated by customers' expected future use. Results show that relationship quality (satisfaction, trust and commitment) is related to expected future use and retention, while expected future is also related to retention. Research limitations/implications – This study represents an early attempt at exploring the role of customer's anticipation of future use in service retention. Future research is discussed, with an emphasis on developing additional indicators of relationship quality and future expectation related variables. Practical implications – Service firms can increase retention through enhancing relationship quality and expected future use. Customers' expected future use plays an important role in service retention, and represents a valuable marketing opportunity in customer relationship management. Marketing managers will find it beneficial to integrate expected future use into marketing communication, retention‐based marketing, and other marketing interactions. Originality/value – This research represents one of the first studies in service retention literature by empirically examining the role of expected future use in relationship‐based retention. Existing theories of relationship quality may also be improved with such an inclusion of customer psychological mechanism. The model provides insights into the effects of customer's expectations of future usage on customer intentions beyond traditional relationship marketing models.
Managing Service Quality – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 6, 2011
Keywords: Relationship quality; Expected future use; Customer retention; Consumer behaviour; Customer relations
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