Relationship Communication and Relationship Quality as Predictors of Relationship Continuity

Walfried M. Lassar, Sanjit Roy, Sathyaprakash Balaji Makam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Communication is considered as one of the important factors in fostering relationship development and maintenance (Finne and Grönroos 2009; Dagger et al. 2011). It provides an understanding of the exchange partners’ intentions, and fosters trust and information exchange needed to promote long-term customer relationships. It is considered as a “necessary process” for developing and maintaining enduring and mutually beneficial relationships between the firm and its customers (Berry 1995). Despite its significance, communication has attracted limited attention in the relationship marketing and services marketing domain. In response to the recent calls for empirical inquiries into the role of communication (Finne and Grönroos 2009), this study contributes to literature by examining the strategic role of relationship communication in the B2C service relationships. More specifically, based on the intercultural and interpersonal communication and relationship marketing literature we propose and examine the role of relationship communication in enhancing the relationship quality and improving relationship continuity with the service provider. We conceptualize relationship communication as a multidimensional construct consisting of cognitive, affective, and behavioral components. Based on the extant literature, relationship communication is determined by the customers’ assessment of firm communication in terms of the clarity, pleasantness, responsiveness, and language (Coviello et al. 2002). Further, prior researchers suggest that relationship quality is a multidimensional construct consisting of trust, satisfaction, and commitment (Balaji 2015). Based on the review of literature, we propose that the relationship communication dimensions directly and indirectly influence relationship continuity through relationship quality dimensions. To test the proposed relationships, two studies are conducted. In the first study, 148 participants provided responses on their assessment of the firm communication. Following the exploratory factor analysis four factors representing the relationship communication dimensions of clarity, pleasantness, reciprocity, and language were extracted. In the second study, 200 actual banking customers in Malaysia provided response on the 18-item relationship communication scale identified in study 1, relationship quality dimensions of trust, satisfaction and commitment, and relationship continuity. Results of the structural equation modeling using SmartPLS revealed that relationship quality dimensions mediate the relationship between relationship communication dimensions and relationship continuity. In other words, the results suggest that customers’ perception of firm communication plays a key role in developing, maintaining, and enhancing customer relationships. Since the success of relationship marketing strategies largely depends on the effectiveness of marketing communications (Herington et al. 2009), our study extends previous research by empirically examining how communication affects relationship quality and relationship continuity in the B2C service relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Marketing Science
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
ISSN (Print)2363-6165
ISSN (Electronic)2363-6173


  • Customer Relationship
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Exploratory Factor Analysis
  • Relationship Quality
  • Structural Equation Modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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