Understanding the psychological process underlying customer satisfaction and retention in a relational service

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Date of Original Version



This paper reexamines the psychological process underlying the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer retention in a relational service context. It is based on a composite model of the attitude-behavior relation, which takes both attitude toward target and attitude toward behavior into account. Data were collected from a survey with a sample of 209 clients from a major credit counseling organization in the USA. Account data indicating those clients' actual retention behavior were matched with the survey data. A two-step structural equation modeling (SEM) procedure was employed to establish the construct validity and test the hypotheses. The results revealed that the effect of customer satisfaction on retention is mediated by the more proximal determinants of the actual retention behavior. Specifically, customer satisfaction has both direct and indirect effects on customers' attitudes toward remaining in the Debt Management Program (DMP), which is the proximal predictor of customer retention. In addition, satisfaction alone cannot guarantee customer retention. Customers' perceived behavioral control exerts direct effects on their intention to remain and retention. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Business Research