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    Customer relationships across search, experience and credence services

    Stathopoulou, Anastasia and Balabanis, G. (2015) Customer relationships across search, experience and credence services. In: Kubacki, K. (ed.) Ideas in Marketing: Finding the New and Polishing the Old. Developments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science 2015. New York, U.S.: Springer, pp. 1-4. ISBN 9783319109503.

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    There is no doubt that the service sector has become a dominant factor in national economies the last decade. Within the service sector thought, there are different service contexts in which distinct types of relationships emerge, varying in magnitude, strength and attributes (Veloutsou et al., 2002). As Paolo and Laurent (2010, p. 133) state “cross-validation across different service industries (e.g. search, experience and credence services) is required”. However, to date the majority of the empirical studies in service relationships is based on one service industry (e.g. banks or mobiles) which limits tremendously the generalisability of the results. From the early stages of this research it became apparent that the nature of the service alters the consumer calculus and motivations (to enter and remain) in a relationship as benefits, costs and risks vary across different types of services. One of the fundamental distinctions of services is the search-experience-credence classification of services by Nelson (1974) and Darby & Karni (1973). This classification is based on the level of information that someone has in order to be able to evaluate the outcome prior to the purchase (Hsieh & Hiang, 2004). Search services are those services that the customer can obtain full information and asses the utility outcome prior to purchase (Hsieh et al., 2005). Experience services are those services that the customers can asses and measure the outcome only during or after the consumption and credence services are those services that it is difficult to measure or asses the outcome even after the consumption (Hsieh et al., 2005). This classification is mainly used by researchers in order to examine how to minimize risk and maximize certainty, information quality and customer loyalty (e.g. Mitra et al., 1999). Yet, the moderating effect of these types of services has not been fully explored, particularly in the customer relationship field. To the authors’ knowledge there is only one group of researchers (Hsieh, Chiu, Chiang and Hiang) that have directed their research efforts towards identifying the differences across search, experience and credence service types, but their focus was both on goods and services on the online environment. Thus, this paper is focused on the variations of customer relationships across the different service types. To explore those variations there was a need to identify the main drivers that influence customers to stay with a service provider. Reviewing the literature it was found that despite the large number of research on customer loyalty drivers, existing knowledge on this topic is highly fragmented and results are mixed (Verhoef et al., 2007). In relation to loyalty, much focus has been given on emotional responses, such as satisfaction, trust and commitment (e.g. Bansal et al., 2004), whereas other emotional responses, such as relational bonds or ties, which relate to customer loyalty in the services context, have not been fully explored (Spake et al., 2003; Bagozzi et al. 1999). This led to the conclusion that there is not a universal framework with a complete set of drivers that could explain how customers can reach certain levels of loyalty. For these reasons, an initial qualitative study was employed in order to identify the relational drivers that can influence customer relationships under different service contexts.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: Proceedings of the 2013 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference. Series ISSN: 2363-6165
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Depositing User: Anastasia Stathopoulou
    Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2017 16:56
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:31


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