Understanding and managing customer relational benefits in services: a meta-analysis

Dwayne D. Gremler*, Yves Van Vaerenbergh, Elisabeth C. Bruggen, Kevin P. Gwinner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Recent meta-analyses provide clear insights into how service firms can benefit from relationship marketing, whereas investigations of customers'' relational benefits (1) are unclear about the absolute and relative strengths by which different relational benefit dimensions induce different customer responses and (2) have not simultaneously examined the various mediating processes (including perceived value, relationship quality, and switching costs) through which relational benefits reportedly affect customer loyalty. To consolidate extant research on the benefits of relationship marketing for customers, this meta-analysis integrates 1242 effect sizes drawn from 235 independent samples across 224 papers disseminated in the past two decades. The results reveal that all three relational benefits affect loyalty, though confidence benefits and social benefits have the strongest effects. Among the three identified mediation paths through which relational benefits influence customer loyalty, the sequential path through perceived value and relationship quality is the strongest. From a service research perspective, this study provides novel empirical generalizations; managerially, the findings suggest that a primary goal for service managers should be strengthening confidence and social benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Relationship marketing
  • Relational benefits
  • Customer loyalty
  • Meta-analysis
  • Confidence
  • Social benefits
  • Special treatment
  • WORD-OF-MOUTH
  • SWITCHING COSTS
  • RELATIONSHIP QUALITY
  • LOYALTY
  • CONSUMER
  • TRUST
  • SATISFACTION
  • GRATITUDE
  • OUTCOMES
  • ROLES

Cite this

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title = "Understanding and managing customer relational benefits in services: a meta-analysis",
abstract = "Recent meta-analyses provide clear insights into how service firms can benefit from relationship marketing, whereas investigations of customers'' relational benefits (1) are unclear about the absolute and relative strengths by which different relational benefit dimensions induce different customer responses and (2) have not simultaneously examined the various mediating processes (including perceived value, relationship quality, and switching costs) through which relational benefits reportedly affect customer loyalty. To consolidate extant research on the benefits of relationship marketing for customers, this meta-analysis integrates 1242 effect sizes drawn from 235 independent samples across 224 papers disseminated in the past two decades. The results reveal that all three relational benefits affect loyalty, though confidence benefits and social benefits have the strongest effects. Among the three identified mediation paths through which relational benefits influence customer loyalty, the sequential path through perceived value and relationship quality is the strongest. From a service research perspective, this study provides novel empirical generalizations; managerially, the findings suggest that a primary goal for service managers should be strengthening confidence and social benefits.",
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author = "Gremler, {Dwayne D.} and {Van Vaerenbergh}, Yves and Bruggen, {Elisabeth C.} and Gwinner, {Kevin P.}",
note = "data source:",
year = "2019",
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doi = "10.1007/s11747-019-00701-6",
language = "English",
journal = "Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science",
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Understanding and managing customer relational benefits in services : a meta-analysis. / Gremler, Dwayne D.; Van Vaerenbergh, Yves; Bruggen, Elisabeth C.; Gwinner, Kevin P.

In: Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 29.10.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Understanding and managing customer relational benefits in services

T2 - a meta-analysis

AU - Gremler, Dwayne D.

AU - Van Vaerenbergh, Yves

AU - Bruggen, Elisabeth C.

AU - Gwinner, Kevin P.

N1 - data source:

PY - 2019/10/29

Y1 - 2019/10/29

N2 - Recent meta-analyses provide clear insights into how service firms can benefit from relationship marketing, whereas investigations of customers'' relational benefits (1) are unclear about the absolute and relative strengths by which different relational benefit dimensions induce different customer responses and (2) have not simultaneously examined the various mediating processes (including perceived value, relationship quality, and switching costs) through which relational benefits reportedly affect customer loyalty. To consolidate extant research on the benefits of relationship marketing for customers, this meta-analysis integrates 1242 effect sizes drawn from 235 independent samples across 224 papers disseminated in the past two decades. The results reveal that all three relational benefits affect loyalty, though confidence benefits and social benefits have the strongest effects. Among the three identified mediation paths through which relational benefits influence customer loyalty, the sequential path through perceived value and relationship quality is the strongest. From a service research perspective, this study provides novel empirical generalizations; managerially, the findings suggest that a primary goal for service managers should be strengthening confidence and social benefits.

AB - Recent meta-analyses provide clear insights into how service firms can benefit from relationship marketing, whereas investigations of customers'' relational benefits (1) are unclear about the absolute and relative strengths by which different relational benefit dimensions induce different customer responses and (2) have not simultaneously examined the various mediating processes (including perceived value, relationship quality, and switching costs) through which relational benefits reportedly affect customer loyalty. To consolidate extant research on the benefits of relationship marketing for customers, this meta-analysis integrates 1242 effect sizes drawn from 235 independent samples across 224 papers disseminated in the past two decades. The results reveal that all three relational benefits affect loyalty, though confidence benefits and social benefits have the strongest effects. Among the three identified mediation paths through which relational benefits influence customer loyalty, the sequential path through perceived value and relationship quality is the strongest. From a service research perspective, this study provides novel empirical generalizations; managerially, the findings suggest that a primary goal for service managers should be strengthening confidence and social benefits.

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KW - Relational benefits

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KW - Confidence

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KW - Special treatment

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KW - RELATIONSHIP QUALITY

KW - LOYALTY

KW - CONSUMER

KW - TRUST

KW - SATISFACTION

KW - GRATITUDE

KW - OUTCOMES

KW - ROLES

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JO - Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

JF - Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

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