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How Often Versus How Long: The Interplay of Contact Frequency and Relationship Duration in Customer-Reported Service Relationship Strength
Abstract and Figures
This study investigates the effects of customer contact frequency and relationship duration on customer-reported relationship strength (CRRS). We embed our analysis of these two relationship-quantity variables within a larger model that considers the effects of relationship-quality variables—commitment, trust and satisfaction—on CRRS. We additionally control for customer demographics and service type. Using a fully national sample of 591 service consumers, we find that both contact frequency and relationship duration have a positive effect on CRRS, and that duration moderates the effect of frequency. Specifically, we observe a relationship-maturity effect: for shorter-duration relationships, contact frequency enhances CRRS, but for longer-duration relationships, contact frequency has no effect on CRRS. Furthermore, employing an iso-contact analysis, we find that for relationships with about the same number of total contacts, those with longer duration are perceived to be stronger, while those with greater contact frequency are not.
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