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Relational bonding strategies, customer satisfaction, and loyalty in the container shipping market

Gökcay Balci (Huddersfield Business School, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)
Aylin Caliskan (Department of Transportation Services, Yasar University, Izmir, Turkey)
Kum Fai Yuen (Department of International Logistics, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 2 October 2019

Issue publication date: 2 October 2019

1600

Abstract

Purpose

In recent years, the business of container lines has faced severe challenges such as overcapacity and low profitability. To survive in such a competitive market, container lines need to maintain long-term customer relationships by enhancing the satisfaction and loyalty of customers. The purpose of this paper is to adopt a social exchange theory (SET) approach and investigate the impact of relational bonding strategies on the satisfaction and loyalty of customers in container shipping.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on SET, a theoretical model that specifies the relationships between relational bonding strategies, customer satisfaction and loyalty was proposed. Survey data were collected from 175 freight forwarders. The obtained data were analyzed using structural equation modelling.

Findings

The results indicate that financial bonding strategies have the most significant direct effects on customer satisfaction, while social bonding strategies have the strongest direct impact on customer loyalty. Financial bonding strategies, on the other hand, have the strongest total effects on customer loyalty. Intermodal and basic operations are found to have the equal total effects on customer loyalty.

Research limitations/implications

By identifying the most effective relational bonding strategies for enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty, this study’s findings allow container lines to better allocate their resources and implement effective relational marketing policies to satisfy and retain their customers.

Originality/value

This research analyses and validates the determinants of customer satisfaction and loyalty from a relational lens and empirically contributes to the field of relational marketing in the container shipping industry.

Keywords

Citation

Balci, G., Caliskan, A. and Yuen, K.F. (2019), "Relational bonding strategies, customer satisfaction, and loyalty in the container shipping market", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 49 No. 8, pp. 816-838. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-02-2019-0051

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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