An Investigation of Mediating and Moderating Variables in Service Quality – Customer Loyalty Relationship: A Research Agenda

An Investigation of Mediating and Moderating Variables in Service Quality – Customer Loyalty Relationship: A Research Agenda

Medha Srivastava, Alok Kumar Rai
DOI: 10.4018/jcrmm.2013070102
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With the increasing focus on customer relationships and profound impact that customer’s evaluative judgements exercise on customer loyalty, it is important to uncover the directional as well as moderating influences on customer loyalty formation. A complete understanding of type and strength of the relationship and their influencers would contribute in developing a comprehensive model that may not just clearly define the form and structure of relationship for future researches but also help industries in building loyalty and rationalize marketing expenditure. The present study aims to delineate the concept and significance of customer loyalty and offers a conceptual framework involving service quality, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. A comprehensive survey of literature explored that customer satisfaction provides a directional influence to the relationship of service quality and customer loyalty and a mediation model integrating the relationships among service quality, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty is proposed for investigation. Furthermore, moderating effects on the service quality and customer loyalty link have been examined and four moderating variables namely, customer knowledge and expertise, price perceptions, service convenience and switching costs have been extracted from the literature. These variables need to be investigated to assess their role and strength in moderating the relationship between the two constructs.
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Customer Loyalty: Conceptual Dimension

Marketing literature has largely used the terms customer retention and customer loyalty to explain the same phenomenon (Reichheld & Sasser, 1990; Zeithaml et al., 1996). A quick observation of customer loyalty is repeat buying (Ball et al., 2004; Copeland, 1923; Newman & Werbel, 1973; Tellis & Chandy, 1998). Firm would want repeat purchases mainly because such behaviour in consumers can:

  • Apparently show the customer preference for a brand or product (Bowen and Shoemaker, 1998);

  • Reflect a customer’s purchase intention (Mellens et al., 1996); and

  • Presumably secure profitability (Reichheld & Sasser, 1990; Rust et al., 2004; Reinartz et al., 2005) by increasing market share (Chaudhuri & Holbrook 2001).

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