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The Customer Exit Process - A Review And Research Agenda

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With increasing priority being given to customer relationships and customer retention, it follows more attention should be given to understanding phenomenon of customer exit. This paper brings together the available literature on exit drawing on social psychology, economics, political science, interpersonal communications and marketing. In particular, four exit issues contained in Albert Hirschman's (1970) 'Exit, Voice and Loyalty' treatise are explored. The first of these is that customer exit can be explained by quality decline, though the latter needs to be broadly defined. Secondly, customer exit by definition relies on alternatives being available to the customer who also perceives them to be different and better. Thirdly, barriers to customer exit may exist. Finally, customer exit and voice are related, but not mutually exclusive. These ideas are brought together in a tentative model of the customer exit process. The paper concludes with an outline research agenda and argues for both inductive and deductive approaches to address customer exit research problems.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1998

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