Strengthening Customer Loyalty through Intimacy and Passion: Roles of Customer-Firm Affection and Customer-Staff Relations in Services

Chi Kin Bennett Yim, David K. Tse, Wa Kimmy Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study extends the existing satisfaction–trust–loyalty paradigm to investigate how customers’ affectionate ties with firms (customer–firm affection)—in particular, the components of intimacy and passion—affect customer loyalty in services. In a bilevel model, the authors consider customer–staff and customer–firm interactions in parallel. Through a netnography study and survey research in two service contexts, they confirm (1) the salience of intimacy and passion as two underrecognized components of customer–firm affection that influence customer loyalty, (2) the complementary and mediating role of customer–firm affection in strengthening customer loyalty, (3) significant affect transfers from the customer–staff to the customer–firm level, and (4) the dilemma that emerges when customer–staff relationships are too close. The findings provide several implications for researchers and managers regarding how intimacy and passion can enrich customer service interactions and how to manage customer–staff relationships properly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-756
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Volume45
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2008

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