The paper's purpose is to broaden knowledge of customer satisfaction and loyalty in business‐to‐business markets.
The authors propose and test a model in which customer satisfaction is conceived as mediating the relationship between the elements of relationship value (price, product quality, delivery performance, supplier know‐how, time‐to‐market, service support and personal interaction) and attitudinal and behavioural customer loyalty. The empirical analysis uses structural equation modelling and is based on 477 customer‐supplier relationships in the manufacturing context.
The results show that satisfaction is negatively affected by price and positively by delivery performance, supplier know‐how and personal interaction. On the other hand, satisfaction positively influences behavioural and attitudinal loyalty. In addition, behavioural loyalty is also negatively affected by price and positively by product quality, while attitudinal loyalty is positively affected by personal interaction.
Future research could add views from the supplier's side and also examine the focal relationship in a network of relationships. The model should be cross‐validated with the same instruments in other contexts.
The paper's main finding that satisfaction is more affected by delivery performance, supplier know‐how and personal interaction than by price holds direct implications for generic business strategies. By building unique relationships with their customers, suppliers can demonstrate they have something different to offer when there is strong market pressure on price. In addition, the finding that the antecedents of behavioural loyalty are more “rational” and “firm‐related”, while the antecedents of attitudinal loyalty are more “emotional” and “individual‐related”, can be used by marketers to improve the relationships with their customers.
The paper systematically addresses the antecedents of customer satisfaction and loyalty from the perspective of relationship value dimensions – an approach that has not yet been taken in the literature.
Čater, B. and Čater, T. (2009), "Relationship‐value‐based antecedents of customer satisfaction and loyalty in manufacturing", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 24 No. 8, pp. 585-597. https://doi.org/10.1108/08858620910999457
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