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Managing Customer Satisfaction, Brand Image, and Strength of Relationship across Switching Paths
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Service Research Center. Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Business Administration.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8278-1442
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Service Research Center. Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Business Administration.
2003 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Managing Customer Satisfaction, Brand Image, and Strength of Relationship across Switching Paths

The importance that customers place on attributes as drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty is a critical input to a firms resource allocation strategy and quality improvement efforts. The priority setting process requires two key inputs. One is the relative importance of the various attributes and benefits toward improving customer satisfaction. The other is performance data on the attributes and benefits. These inputs can then be used in an importance-performance analysis, also known as a strategic satisfaction matrix, which determines where a firm should concentrate its resources to improve performance (Martilla and James 1977). The essential aspects to improve are those where importance is high and performance is low. This effectively focuses resources where they have the greatest impact on satisfaction and subsequent loyalty. Those aspects where performance and impact are both high illuminate a firms competitive advantage. Clearly, when both importance and performance are low, customers are telling us not to waste resources improving these areas. The low importance/high performance category may be areas where resources have been wasted in the past because the improvements were not important to customers. Alternatively, these may be drivers of satisfaction that customers consider basic and necessary. This importance-performance logic usually assumes that we measure and model benefits that a company provides to customers. These benefits are then the primary antecedents of customer satisfaction as a type of overall evaluation of the consumption experience. This satisfaction, in turn, influences customers behavioral intentions in the form of a predisposition to repurchase the product or service again (loyalty). The model can be quite elaborate when it comes to benefits and their attributes, but it is the assumed that only customer satisfaction effects loyalty.

We are now at a time were companies talk about building relationships with their customers and seek a better understanding of how brand equity affects business results. Consequently, there are some new approaches to improving ones Return on Customers (Rust, Zeithaml and Lemon 2000) and customer loyalty modeling (Johnson et al. 2001) that have moved beyond just customer satisfaction to include the effects of brand image or reputation, affective relationship commitment, and calculative relationship commitment on loyalty. In this expanded loyalty model the implications of the importance-performance logic are not so clear. For example, if brand or strength of relationship has a high impact and a low performance, does it make more sense to improve them directly or indirectly via customer satisfaction? The point is that there are more strategic considerations and implications that emerge from a loyalty matrix vis-à-vis a simple satisfaction matrix.

Furthermore, recent research on switching paths (Roos 1999) shows how a variety of triggering events put customers on a switching path (such as influential triggers, reactional triggers, and situational triggers). These triggers serve as a natural segmentation scheme for companies managing a comprehensive loyalty matrix. What we propose to do in this paper is to merge the two previously mentioned research fields to examine new types of loyalty models for telecom service customers with very different potential switching paths and explore the strategic implications of this more comprehensive analysis. We find that different triggers systematically influence the effect that satisfaction, brand image, and relationship commitment have on loyalty and, as a result, the management different switching paths.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003.
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-21268OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-21268DiVA: diva2:594941
Conference
12th Annual Frontiers In Services Conference Washington DC., October 23-26, 2003
Available from: 2013-01-21 Created: 2013-01-21 Last updated: 2014-12-11

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