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Exploring the mediating role of relationship quality in online services


  • Keating, Byron W.
  • Alpert, Frank
  • Kriz, Anton
  • Quazi, Ali


This paper is the first to examine the mediating role of relationship quality in the online context. By investigating this major tenet of customer relationship management theory in this nascent service setting, this paper clarifies the interaction between service quality and relationship quality, as they impact on customer loyalty. The findings reveal some fundamental differences in the way that strong relationships and loyalty develop in the online setting vis-à-vis the offline setting. The findings of this empirical research support the existence of a partial mediating relationship. While effective service delivery was found to enhance the quality of customer-firm relationships, and consequently, the customer’s perceived loyalty to their main financial institution; there was also evidence of a concurrent link between service quality and loyalty. This finding suggests that a strong relationship does not make customers immune to poor future services, and that firms operating in the online environment should maintain high service standards if they are to enjoy continued loyalty from their customers.

Suggested Citation

  • Keating, Byron W. & Alpert, Frank & Kriz, Anton & Quazi, Ali, 2010. "Exploring the mediating role of relationship quality in online services," MPRA Paper 40506, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:40506

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harris, Katherine E. & Grewal, Dhruv & Mohr, Lois A. & Bernhardt, Kenneth L., 2006. "Consumer responses to service recovery strategies: The moderating role of online versus offline environment," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 425-431, April.
    2. Chiung-Ju Liang & Hui-Ju Chen & Wen-Hung Wang, 2008. "Does online relationship marketing enhance customer retention and cross-buying?," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(6), pages 769-787, July.
    3. Jarvis, Cheryl Burke & MacKenzie, Scott B & Podsakoff, Philip M, 2003. " A Critical Review of Construct Indicators and Measurement Model Misspecification in Marketing and Consumer Research," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(2), pages 199-218, September.
    4. Garbarino, Ellen & Strahilevitz, Michal, 2004. "Gender differences in the perceived risk of buying online and the effects of receiving a site recommendation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 57(7), pages 768-775, July.
    5. Roland T. Rust & Tuck Siong Chung, 2006. "Marketing Models of Service and Relationships," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(6), pages 560-580, 11-12.
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    More about this item


    Online services; customer relationship management; relationship quality; service quality; loyalty;

    JEL classification:

    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L8 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services


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