Understanding loyalty from a customer's perspective

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Abstract:

Today's marketers are still faced with the challenge of winning loyal customers despite over 90 years of research. Few attempts have been made to understand loyalty from a customer viewpoint. This paper outlines a research approach that was used to analyse content descriptions of loyalty. Over 280 respondents from five countries were asked to write down everything that came to mind for the word loyalty. Leximancer, a content analysis tool, identified the objects that people can be loyal to including family, friends, employees, companies, brands and products. The customer viewpoint approach employed in this research also enabled us to confirm that factors such as trust are required for loyalty formation. This research proposes that the theoretical bases underpinning loyalty research require further development by academics. The results of this research indicate that loyalty theories must clearly emphasise the multiple foci, the requisite condition of trust and the dynamic, relational aspect of loyalty.

Keywords: CUSTOMER; FOCI; LEXIMANCER; LOYALTY; RELATIONAL; TRUST

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/147539210X533197

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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