Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
SPAT-Switching Path Analysis Technique
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.
2001 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Abstract



Critical incidents have been acknowledged as embedding useful information concerning customer behavior during decades of research. Knowledge of customer switching gained from critical incidents has been approached from different angles. Concepts such as service quality, complaining behavior and service recovery have been used as a basis, and the implications for relationships have been inferred (LaBarbera and Mazursky 1983; Simonson and Tversky 1992; Headly and Miller 1993; Heskett et al. 1994; Strandvik and Liljander 1994; Zeithaml et al. 1996; Rust et al. 1997; Stauss and Neuhaus 1997; Grönroos 1990; Singh 1990; Bolton and Drew 1991; Oliva et al. 1992; Blodgett et al. 1995; Jones and Sasser 1995; Reichheld 1996; Oliver 1997; Bejou and Palmer 1998; Edvardsson and Roos 2001). The methods applied in the studies have followed the tradition of the original literature. It is only recently that switching behavior has been specifically focused on. The static and episodic focus in this study, however, is on relationship dynamics and a new method was required. The CIT technique (Flanagan 1954; Edvardsson 1992; Bitner, Booms and Tetreault 1989; Stauss 1993; Keaveney 1995; Bansal and Taylor 1999) has developed into SPAT- The Switching Path Analysis Technique (Roos 1999a and b). It succeeds in reflecting both the process of customer switching from one service provider to another and the dynamism on the switching path. The use of SPAT resulted in a Catalytic Switching Model, which revealed deliberate changes of behavior in customer relationships.

From a managerial standpoint, understanding customer switching paths establishes a basis for being able to see individuals among customers. They form customer segments that are firmly and fundamentally based on the particularities embedded in every service provider and industry. Customer switching paths provide information of a certain nature. They show a preference change by the customer that is related to both the industry and the customers own life. The industry change involves both competitors and trends, while the personal-life change includes shifts in economic and demographic circumstances. The customer-switching path is based on actual behavior, and is updated through an anchoring and adjustment process in terms of customer-perceived changes in their own living and their perceptions of the service provider.

The instruments of The Switching Path Analysis Technique

The analysis of a switching path focuses on; The trigger, The initial state, The process and The outcome. The outcome stage includes the kind of switching a customers behavior indicates. The process describes the switching-determinant configuration. The initial state describes the relationship length, thus touching on customer involvement and commitment. The trigger indicates the sensitive factors influencing customer-behavior change. The tools included in SPAT are an interview guide, analysis (code system), and techniques for reporting the findings.

1. The interview guide was put together with the objective of giving the interviewees the opportunity to tell their switching stories with minimum influence from the interviewer.

2. The analyse stage in SPAT could begin by identifying whether the customer has made a revocable, a conditional revocable or an irrevocable switching decision (Re path, ReC path or Ir path. These switching paths indicate whether the customer aims to go back to the switched-from service provider or not. The switching paths differ according to the kind of trigger, in combination with the switching-determinant configuration directing the customer on the path. A situational trigger is something outside the switched-from service provider that has increased the sensitivity of the situation, frequently involving changes in the demographic or economic circumstances of the customer. An influential trigger operates when conditions in the switched-to service provider act as a comparison standard for the switching customer. The reactional trigger influences the customers sensitiveness to matters inside the switched-from service provider.

Switching determinants are of three kinds: a pushing determinant, a swayer, and a pulling determinant.

Switching-determinant configuration

In the switching-determinant configuration the switching determinants appear distinct. In such a configuration the dynamism of the switching path means its energy and direction. This is not fuelled by only one switching determinant, but frequently by all three kinds: a pusher, a swayer and a puller. The change over time, and the energy and direction, are connected to the trigger, which in turn provides the configuration with energy and direction. This energy may appear as customer complaints, for example, which may cause customer emotions. A change in the trigger may imply that a new switching-determinant configuration is advancing the switching path.

The pushing determinant is defined as the switching determinant that is perceived by the customer as the reason for switching to another service provider.

A swayer does not cause switching by itself. It has no power of its own to provoke switching or returning. It only mitigates or strengthens the switching decision, and may be positive or negative. In other words, it may strengthen the switching or mitigate it.

The pulling determinant explains why customers go back to the service provider from which they have recently switched.

Other switching-paths factors include the length of the relationship, the length of the switching decision, emotions and complaining. The value of such factors is that they reveal customer involvement and commitment (Roos 1999c), which has implications in the categorization of customer paths into Re, ReC and Ir paths.

Triggers segmenting customers according to their switching behavior

Three kinds of trigger were distinguished: the situational, the interactional and the reactional. The following three customer segments characterized by actual behavior on the switching path, were formed. (1) Something happened to the customers which they found difficult, almost impossible, to influence: Situational customers. (2) Customers were influenced by something which made it easier for them to patronise a certain service provider: Influential customers. (3) Customers reacted to some kind of deterioration which was connected to the service provider: Reactional customers.

Situational customers are made perceptive to switching by something outside the service that has increased the sensitivity of the situation within it. This may not be immediately connected to the service, or to the service provider.

Influential customers are sensitive to conditions by the switched-to service provider and act as comparison standards. An influential trigger may be connected to purchasing, or it may be a new alternative in the form of a competitor, or a competitor who has changed or improved its concept. A credit card or a loyalty card may also constitute an influential trigger.

Reactional customers declare their sensitiveness to matters inside the firm. This may be related to deterioration in the service quality or in the range of goods. At some stage during this process of deterioration, the customer wakes up and takes stock of the situation.

Identifying customer-switching paths seems to produce new information on customer behavior. The switching perspective deepens our knowledge of the relationship between customers and their service providers. The reason why these deeper insights emerge may be connected with the dynamic approach to studying actual behavior. This unique combination was realized following the modification of a method. We should not neglect careful reconsideration of methods and their potential for providing new results when we adopt new approaches.

References:

Bansal, Harvir S. and Shirley F. Taylor (1999): The Service Provider Switching Model (SPSM). A Model of Consumer Switching Behavior in the Service Industry. Journal of Service Research, Vol.2, No. 2, November 1999, pp.200-218.

Bejou, David and Adrian Palmer (1998): Service failure and loyalty: an exploratory empirical study of airline customers. Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 7-22.

Bitner, Mary Jo, Bernard H. Booms and Mary Stanfield Tetreault (1989): Critical Incidents in Service Encounters, Designing a Winning Service Strategy, Mary Jo Bitner and Lawrence A. Crosby, eds. Chicago: American Marketing Association, pp. 89-99.

Blodgett, Jeffrey G. and Wakefield, K., L., and Barnes, J., H., (1995): The effects of customer service on consumer complaining behavior. Journal of Service Marketing, Vol. 9, No 4 1995 pp. 31-42.

Bolton, Ruth N. and James H. Drew (1991), A Multistage Model of Customers` Assessments of Service Quality and Value. Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 17, March.

Edvardsson, Bo (1992): Service Breakdowns, A Study of Critical Incidents in an Airline. International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 3, No.4, 17-29.

Edvardsson, Bo and Inger Roos (2001): Customer Complaints and Switching Behavior A Study of relationship dynamics in a telecommunication company. Journal of Relationship Marketing, forthcoming 2001.

Flanagan, John C. (1954), The Critical Incident Technique, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 51, No. 4, pp.327-358.

Grönroos, Christian (1990), Service Management and Marketing. Toronto: Lexington Books.

Headley, Dean E. and Stephen J. Miller (1993), Measuring Service Quality and its Relationship to Future Consumer Behavior. Journal of Health Care Marketing, Winter 1993, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 32-39.

Heskett, James L., Thomas O. Jones, Gary W. Loveman, W. Earl Sasser, Jr. and Leonard A. Schlesinger (1994), Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work. Harvard Business Review, March-April 1994, pp. 164-174.

Jones, Thomas O. and W. Earl Sasser Jr. (1995), Why Satisfied Customers Defect, Harward Business Review, Vol. 73, November-December 1995, pp. 88-99.

Keaveney, Susan M. (1995), Customer Switching Behavior in Service Industries: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Marketing, Vol. 59, April, 1995, pp. 71-82.

LaBarbera, Priscilla A. and David Mazursky (1983), A Longitudinal Assessment of Consumer Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction: The Dynamic Aspect of the Cognitive Process. Journal of Marketing Research. November 1983.

Oliva, Terence A., Richard L. Oliver and Ian C. MacMillan (1992), A Catastrophe Model for Developing Service Satisfaction Strategies. Journal of Marketing, Vol. 56, July 1992, pp. 83 - 95.

Oliver, Richard L. (1997), Satisfaction. A Behavioral Perspective on the Consumer. USA: McGraw-Hill.

Reichheld, Frederick F (1996), The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits, and Lasting Value/Frederick F. Reichheld with Thomas Teal. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Roos, Inger (1999a), Switching Paths in Customer Relationships. Doctoral Dissertation, Publications of the Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, No. 78, Helsinki, Finland.

Roos, Inger (1999b), Switching Processes in Customer Relationships. Journal of Service Research, Vol. 2, No. 1, August 1999, pp. 68-85.

Rust, Roland T., J. Jeffery Inman and Jianmin Jia (1997), Customer Expectation Distributions: A Dynamic Model, Theoretical Implications, and Empirical Evidence. Paper presented at Frontiers in Service Conference, USA, Nashville TN, October 2-4, 1997, organized by the Center for Service Marketing at Vanderbilt University and American Marketing Association.

Simonson, Itamar and Amos Tversky (1992), Choice in Context: Tradeoff Contrast and Extremeness Aversion. Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. XXIX, August 1992, pp. 281-295.

Singh, Jagdip (1990), Voice, Exit, and Negative Word-of-Mouth Behaviors: An Investigation Across Three Service Categories. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 18., No 1, pp. 1-15.

Stauss, Bernd (1993): Using the Critical Incident Technique in Measuring and Managing Service Quality. In E Scheuing, and William F. Christopher (eds.) The Service Quality Handbook, New York: American Management Association, pp. 408-427.

Stauss, Bernd and Patricia Neuhaus (1997), The Qualitative Satisfaction Model, International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 236-249.

Strandvik, Tore and Veronica Liljander (1994), Relationship Strength in Bank Services. Proceedings from the 1994 Research Conference on Relationship Marketing: Theory, Methods and Applications. Jagdish N. Sheth, Atul Parvatiyar, eds. June 11-13, 1994, Atlanta, Georgia.

Zeithaml, Valarie, Leonard L. Berry and A. Parasuraman (1996), The Behavioral Consequences of Service Quality. Journal of Retailing, Vol. 60, April, pp. 31-46.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sydney, Australia, 2001.
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-23716OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-23716DiVA: diva2:597479
Available from: 2013-01-22 Created: 2013-01-22 Last updated: 2013-01-22

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Roos, Inger
By organisation
Service Research CenterDepartment of Business Administration
Business Administration

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

Total: 836 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link