Service quality, trust, commitment and service differentiation in business relationships

Chenet, Pierre, Dagger, Tracey S. and O'Sullivan, Don (2010) Service quality, trust, commitment and service differentiation in business relationships. Journal of Services Marketing, 24 4-5: 336-345. doi:10.1108/08876041011060440

Author Chenet, Pierre
Dagger, Tracey S.
O'Sullivan, Don
Title Service quality, trust, commitment and service differentiation in business relationships
Journal name Journal of Services Marketing   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0887-6045
Publication date 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1108/08876041011060440
Volume 24
Issue 4-5
Start page 336
End page 345
Total pages 10
Place of publication Bingley, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Purpose: While service quality, trust and commitment are frequently cited as critical to achieving important firm outcomes, the role of service differentiation in this framework is largely unknown. Yet, differentiation is important because a firm's distinctiveness is linked to client-perceived value, competitive advantage, and a target market focus. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the role of service differentiation in business-to-business relationships.

Design/methodology/approach: Hypotheses were tested using a sample of business clients from a large European financial services firm. The senior primary contact in each client firm was contacted by phone/e-mail to arrange for completion of the survey. Using the survey instrument, respondents provided information on their relationship with the provider organization.

Findings: Results indicated that service quality had an impact on trust, differentiation and relationship outcomes. Trust was found to drive service differentiation. Differentiation, in turn, drove commitment which ultimately had an impact on both satisfaction and word-of-mouth. Importantly, it was found that service differentiation is a full mediator of the impact that service quality and trust have on client commitment towards the firm.

Originality/value: The findings clearly show the importance of service differentiation in achieving high levels of relationship commitment and ultimately satisfaction and positive word-of-mouth. As the role of differentiation in business-to-business relationships has received limited research focus, this paper offers managers new insights into relationship development. Importantly, differentiation is a managerially controlled variable that firms can use to influence relationship outcomes. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Keyword Relationship marketing
Customer services quality
Product differentiation
Customer satisfaction
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
UQ Business School Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 19 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 34 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 03 Oct 2010, 00:04:32 EST