Understanding consumers' intentions in building long-term relationships with organisations / P.G. Mostert
The field of marketing has evolved over the past 100 years from focusing on organisations’ production abilities to a customer-centric approach, where marketers attempt to build relationships with customers by offering greater value than that offered by competitors. To better meet customer needs, marketers study consumer behaviour and, specifically, the manner in which consumers make purchasing decisions. Consumers expect that the outcome of their purchase decisions will result in their needs being satisfied. Customer satisfaction is important to organisations, as satisfaction is a critical first step in building both long-term relationships and customer loyalty which, in turn, could lead to organisations retaining their customers and gaining higher profits. Building long-term relationships is therefore critical to organisations. However, not all customers want to form long-term relationships with organisations. Marketers should therefore identify customers with high relationship intentions, because building relationships with these customers could lead to improved market segmentation, reduced marketing and operational costs, increased revenue, customer retention and higher profits. Empirical research across a number of South African industries has resulted in the development of a reliable relationship intention measure, whereby customers’ relationship intentions are measured by means of five constructs. These are involvement, expectations, forgiveness, feedback, and fear of relationship loss. Future developments on relationship intention include establishing a relationship intention continuum that could be used to index customers according to their relationship intentions.