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The role of customer clubs in recent telecom relationships

Inger Roos (Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)
Anders Gustafsson (Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)
Bo Edvardsson (Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)

International Journal of Service Industry Management

ISSN: 0956-4233

Article publication date: 1 December 2005




The purpose of this study is to enhance understanding of the club's role in the customer relationships of a telecommunications company by re‐considering the concepts of frequency and commitment in a telecom‐customer club.


We interviewed telecom customers that were members of a Swedish telecom company's customer club. The approach was to understand the customer evaluation of the customer club. We conducted 44 in‐depth interviews with members of the loyalty club.


We found an umbrella concept for the club regarding loyalty: a keeping function, which divided the customer club in two ways: the affective role makes the customer stay with the company and the calculative role with a more inferred loyalty function. The expressions that were not connected to loyalty is the attracting function.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of our qualitative study include the small sample size, and it represents only one kind of industry and one company.


The first contribution of this study is the new perspective of customer clubs in the telecommunications industry on customer relationships. The implication is that customers do not always consider all parts of the club when they stay loyal, and not always think about it when they plan future behaviour.The second contribution is the result regarding re‐consideration of the frequency concept. Bearing in mind the delimitations, the calculative role dominated the affective role. Thirty‐three of the 44 members said that their club was of minor importance in terms of relationship continuation. The calculative role is, accordingly, dominant.



Roos, I., Gustafsson, A. and Edvardsson, B. (2005), "The role of customer clubs in recent telecom relationships", International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 16 No. 5, pp. 436-454.



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