Keywords: long-term customer relationship, affective and cognitive involvement, trust, relational customer retention, structural model
Trust, involvement profile and customer retention - modelling, effects and implications
This study proposes and tests a structural model of customer retention. It measures the effects of trust and involvement on customer retention assuming general customer satisfaction. The model is tested in an empirical study in the context of an existing long-term customer relationship. As expected, customer satisfaction is not a construct on its own but is combined with retention. Trust serves as a strong trigger for enhancing customer retention. Involvement is revealed to play a prominent role in explaining both trust creation and customer retention. Applying the scale of Jain and Srinivasan, effects of different involvement profiles are analysed. Based on a discussion of the conceptual framework and an empirical proof of its operationalisation, five different dimensions of involvement are distinguished. Trust creation is primarily triggered by affective components of involvement, whereas the cognitive components show distinct effects. Further differences between the individual dimensions of involvement are revealed, in accordance with theoretical considerations. We conclude that relational customer retention, where trust is a major constituent element, is differently supported by affective and cognitive involvement. Consequently, the focus of innovation and new product management should shift from the mere design of new physical properties towards a broader, proactive perspective of shaping both consumer involvement and long-term retention.