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Understanding the impact of the relationship quality on customer loyalty: the moderating effect of online service recovery

Shu-Mei Tseng (Department of Hospitality Management, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 7 June 2021

Issue publication date: 23 June 2021




The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of the relationship quality on customer loyalty. The moderating role played by online service recovery in this study is further discussed.


A quantitative Web-based survey study was conducted to statistically test these relationships among relationship quality, service recovery and customer loyalty. Data collected from 183 respondents were taken for analysis through partial least squares.


The findings reveal that relationship quality has significant influence on customer loyalty, whereas service recovery has moderated effect on the relationship between relationship quality and customer loyalty.

Research limitations/implications

The respondents of this study were recruited from online panels; thus, a purposive sample could be a biased indication of the characteristics of the actual population. Therefore, it is suggested that future researchers enroll subjects from a statistical population that accurately represents the entire population and, in addition, that they collect more responses to increase the generalizability of the findings.

Practical implications

Because failures in service delivery are inevitable, recovery of such encounters thus represents a significant challenge for service firms. Hence, this study proposes concrete suggestions for firms to manage and operate e-commerce websites, as well as to enhance relationship quality and customer loyalty.


Service failures have been the bane of e-commerce, compelling customers to either abandon transactions entirely or switch to a physical competitor. Many firms have realized the importance of maintaining strong relationships with customers to enhance their loyalty. However, previous literature has a few studies conducted on the relationships among service recovery, relationship quality and customer loyalty in the e-commerce context. Therefore, it is meaningful to identify these relationships.



This research is supported by Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, R.O.C. under Grant no. MOST 106-2410-H-214-002-.


Tseng, S.-M. (2021), "Understanding the impact of the relationship quality on customer loyalty: the moderating effect of online service recovery", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 300-320.



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