Why do customers switch? The dynamics of satisfaction versus loyalty

Why do customers switch? The dynamics of satisfaction versus loyalty One of the most unexamined assumptions marketing firms have made in recent years is that satisfaction alone will guarantee customer loyalty. Our research questions this assumption. We explored the correspondence between customer satisfaction and loyalty, and found as many as half of the “satisfied” customers to be predisposed to switching service suppliers. This satisfaction‐loyalty gap reflects the fact that different components of service quality drive satisfaction versus loyalty. Satisfaction is driven more by “technical quality” (the quality of the work performed) than by “functional quality” (how the service work was delivered); however, once satisfaction is achieved, loyalty is driven more by functional than by technical quality. This is the pattern of influence for a “low contact” (where customers’ direct contact with service providers is absent or marginal) service. For a “high contact” service, the pattern of influence is exactly the reverse. Of significant importance to service managers, the paper explains the dynamics of loyalty versus satisfaction and derives their managerial implications. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Services Marketing Emerald Publishing

Why do customers switch? The dynamics of satisfaction versus loyalty

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 1998 MCB UP Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0887-6045
DOI
10.1108/08876049810219502
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

One of the most unexamined assumptions marketing firms have made in recent years is that satisfaction alone will guarantee customer loyalty. Our research questions this assumption. We explored the correspondence between customer satisfaction and loyalty, and found as many as half of the “satisfied” customers to be predisposed to switching service suppliers. This satisfaction‐loyalty gap reflects the fact that different components of service quality drive satisfaction versus loyalty. Satisfaction is driven more by “technical quality” (the quality of the work performed) than by “functional quality” (how the service work was delivered); however, once satisfaction is achieved, loyalty is driven more by functional than by technical quality. This is the pattern of influence for a “low contact” (where customers’ direct contact with service providers is absent or marginal) service. For a “high contact” service, the pattern of influence is exactly the reverse. Of significant importance to service managers, the paper explains the dynamics of loyalty versus satisfaction and derives their managerial implications.

Journal

Journal of Services MarketingEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 1, 1998

Keywords: Customer loyalty; Customer satisfaction; Health care; Motor industry; Service quality; USA

References

  • SERVQUAL revisited: a critical review of service quality
    Asubonteng, P.; McLeary, K.J.; Swan, J.E.
  • Measuring service quality: a systems approach
    Johnson, R.L.; Tsiros, M.; Lancioni, R.A.
  • Services Marketing
    Lovelock, C.H.

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