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The blind spot of relationships in consumer markets: the consumer proneness to engage in relationships

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This paper looks at the nature of relationships between consumers and firms, developing a dyadic conceptual model for consumer markets where both parties are taken into consideration. We question whether a relationship is necessarily the preferred state from the customer's perspective or if this is only in the mind of the seller. This topic appears to remain the blind spot of relationships in consumer markets. The empirical data is gathered from interviews and focus group discussions embedded in three cases from banking, mobile communications and retailing services. The paper shows that customers may differ in terms of the types of relationships they require and in how they may want to transact or relate. We conclude that different situations are likely to coexist with different consumers, which makes it hard to establish a general pattern of consumer market relationships.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2008

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