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Paper info: Relationship Quality as a Predictor of B2B Customer loyalty

Title


Relationship Quality as a Predictor of B2B Customer loyalty

Authors


Kenneth E. Miller, Nigel J Barrett and Papassapa Rauyruen

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 21st IMP-conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2005.

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Abstract


This study aims to provide a picture of how relationship quality can influence customer loyalty or loyalty in the business-to-business context. Building on prior research, we propose relationship qualityas a higher construct comprising trust, commitment, satisfaction and service quality. Thesedimensions of relationship quality can reasonably explain the influence of relationship quality oncustomer loyalty. This study follows the composite loyalty approach providing both behavioural aspects (purchaseintentions) and attitudinal loyalty in order to fully explain the concept of customer loyalty. A literaturesearch is undertaken in the areas of customer loyalty, relationship quality, perceived service quality,trust, commitment and satisfaction. This study then seeks to address the following research issues:Does relationship quality influence both aspects of customer loyalty? Which relationship qualitydimensions influence each of the components of customer loyalty? This study was conducted in a business-to-business setting of the courier and freight delivery service industry in Australia. The survey was targeted to Australian Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Twomethods were chosen for data collection: mail survey and online survey. The total number of usablerespondents who completed both survey was 306.In this study, a two step approach (Anderson and Gerbing 1988) was selected for measurement modeland structural model. The results also show that all measurement models of relationship dimensionsachieved a satisfactory level of fit to the data. The hypothesized relationships were estimated usingstructural equation modeling. The overall goodness of fit statistics shows that the structural model fitsthe data well.As the results show, to maintain customer loyalty to the supplier, a supplier may enhance all fouraspects of relationship quality which are trust, commitment, satisfaction and service quality. Specifically, in order to enhance customer’s trust, a supplier should promote the customer’s trust in the supplier. In efforts to emphasize commitment, a supplier should focus on building affective aspects ofcommitment rather than calculative aspects. Satisfaction appears to be a crucial factor in maintainingpurchase intentions whereas service quality will strongly enhance both purchase intentions and attitudinal loyalty.