Telecommunication represents the characteristic of a fierce-competitive, dynamic and rapid-growing industry. Through merger mania in a turbulent market telecommunication companies try to improve their control over as many customers as possible (Sumner-Smith and Sumner 1999; Borna 2000; Cobbett and Matthews 2000). These companies are trying to achieve the ultimate attribute of relationship marketing, i.e. long-term relationships with their customers (Grönroos 1989; 2000; Berry 1995; Colgate and Stewart 1998), the application in this industry, however, with disloyal, frequently switching customers seems challenging. Even more difficult is the situation for the companies in the wireless part of the industry with no barriers what so ever to prevent customers from switching. One of the major challenges for the telecom companies is to identify the specific factors appealing to customers willingness to switch between different operators. A longitudinal approach to analysing customers switching processes puts forward and distinguishes the most decisive factors in terms of disloyal behavior. The emerging pattern from that mapping indicates the focus of customer perceptions. That focus is in this study defined as maturity agents. The maturity agents again form the maturing market of a specific market, here telecommunications. Maturing market is hence viewed from the customers perspective in line with the relationship logic. The indicators of the maturing market are per definition instable over time and need therefore to be supported and updated by repeated mapping of customers switching behavior.This paper is based on two empirical studies recently carried out in a large Swedish telecommunication company. The first study was a combined complaint and switching behaviour study (Edvardsson and Roos 2001). Findings of the first study are in this paper compared to findings of the second study consisting of process mapping of the customers switching behavior in the same company. Based on this comparison, factors and combinations of factors were found to work as maturity agents in the customers processes. The purpose of the study is to build a model with the capability to establish and generalise maturity agents and their influence on switching intention. Empirical results of the quantitative study are presented.In sum, a maturity-agent model is presented and quantitatively measured results presented. The maturity-agent model is grounded in the two empirical studies made in the telecommunication company, here labelled The Company, the maturity agents are defined as the factors, which embed the potential to communicate the change of customer perceptions, including both The Company and the context. The maturity agents are likely to change over time accordingly. The identification of these maturity agents may facilitate and support the sharpness of marketing activities carried out in order to build and maintain long-term customer relationships. References:Berry, Leonard (1995), Relationship Marketing of Services - Growing Interest, Emerging Perspectives, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol.23, No. 4 (Fall), 236-245.Edvardsson, Bo and Inger Roos (2000): Customer Complaints and Switching Behavior A Study of relationship dynamics in a telecommunication company. Journal of Relationship Marketing, forthcoming 2001.Borna, Claude, 2000. Combating Customer Churn. Telecommunications, Americas Ed. Vol. 34, No. 3, 83-85.Grönroos, Christian (1989a): Defining Marketing: A Market-Oriented Approach. European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 23. No. 1, pp. 52-50.Grönroos, Christian (2000): Grönroos, Christian (2000), Relationship Marketing: The Nordic School Perspective. Jagdish N. Sheth and Atul Parvatiyar, eds, Handbook of Relationship Marketing, London, Sage Publications, 95-118.Sumner-Smith, David and Ian Sumner, 1999. The free-access revolution. Marketing, Vol. 4, March, 29-30.Cobbett, Ray and Mike Matthews, 2000. Its your call. Supply Management, Vol.5, No. 14, 34-35.
Victoria, B.C., Canada: University of Victoria , 2002. 256-265 p.