The Influence of Social Regard on the Customer–Service Firm Relationship: The Moderating Role of Length of Relationship
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The authors examine the influence of employees’ social regard toward the customers on customer satisfaction, trust, and word of mouth. In addition, we analyzed the moderating role of length of relationship between the service provider and the customer on the effects of social regard on the customer relationship outcomes.
Hypotheses were tested with customers of two service industries: financial services and hair salon services. Data were gathered through telephone and personal interview surveys.
Findings reveal that social regard had a positive influence on customer satisfaction, trust, and positive word of mouth. Also, length of relationship seems to moderate the effect of social regard on customer satisfaction and trust, but not on word of mouth.
The key influence of employees’ social regard reveals that it can become a tool for the management of customer satisfaction, trust, and word of mouth. Aspects of staff training should be affected by these findings.
Despite the importance that researchers and practitioners have assigned to the influence of employees’ behaviors on relational variables at the company level, employees’ social regard toward the customers not only remains unexplored but also has been confounded with other social variables. This research not only proves its effects on relational variables (satisfaction, trust, and word of mouth) but also shows the moderating role of length of relationship.
KeywordsServices marketing Social regard Customer–organization relationship Length of relationship Satisfaction Trust Word of mouth
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