Relationship Quality and Customer Demographics in Indian Retail

Relationship Quality and Customer Demographics in Indian Retail

Ekta Duggal (University of Delhi, India) and Harsh V. Verma (University of Delhi, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7095-0.ch008

Abstract

Service industries are becoming highly contested markets in India. This has shifted the focus of players towards quality and relationship quality. Building lasting customer relationships is the only way to sustain in the long run. Accordingly, quality in different forms needs to be articulated and deconstructed. The complexity of services makes it difficult for firms to satisfy and retain customers. Relationship quality is driven by trust, commitment, and satisfaction. The chapter sought to validate the retail relationship quality scale in Indian context. The components defining relationship quality were investigated to determine their relative importance across different customer groups. It was found that satisfaction with the employees is the most valued aspect across select demographic groups. This reinforces the role of employees in producing outcomes that are likely to bind customers with the service firm. Operationally, it implies that employee-customer interaction is important in managing retail business.
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Customer Relationship And Business Sustainability

Business organizations have been forced to embrace relationship orientation in response to environmental ambiguity and uncertainty (Day, 2000). Customers are now informed, sophisticated and unpredictable (Buttle, 1999). Most services have been localized, protected and hence have become less competitive. But now services are liberalized and have opened up to foreign participation. In India, service sectors like health care, air transportation, banking, insurance, education, and telecommunications have moved on to become highly competitive. The incidence of competition makes it imperative for firms to shift focus on customer retention as customer attraction becomes costly and ineffective (Christopher et al., 1991; Lehtinen, 1996). It is for these reasons that relationship building has become a widely-adopted philosophy (Noble & Phillips, 2004).

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