Relationship Quality

2302 words | 6 page(s)

This paper explores critical components of relationship quality related to marketing and business. Relationship quality can be defined in many ways, including as the way that customers perceive the nature of a relationship between a business and meeting their needs (Myhal, Kang & Murphy, 2008). Relationship quality may depend on many factors including the expertise of the business and the needs of a client; these needs may be unique or they may be general. Regardless, the business that will preserve relationships through quality is the business that best understands the foundations and principles of relationship quality and its impact on marketing. A business that contiguously works to survey its clients and better its offering to the same clients and others is more likely to engage in a positive relationship and therefore maintain positive relationship qualities relative to the fields of business and marketing (Myhal, Kang & Murphy, 2008).

Customer-perceived relationship quality has been explored in a B2C setting using an instrumental single case study design (Myhal, Kang, & Murphy, 2008). The research demonstrates that more than 208 components are critical to customers’ relationship quality perceptions (Myhal, Kang, & Murphy). Customer relationships may be difficult to replicate; as such, the quality of relationships an organization builds, and the ability of an organization to use the customer’s perspective in a business setting is significant in terms of the contribution that relationships make to greater knowledge as a whole, and in terms of gaps that may exist in knowledge (Mayhal, Kang, & Murphy, 2008).

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Aali, Mirabi & Zare (2014) note that relationship marketing strategies may have an influence on relationship quality, and customer’s behavioral and attitudinal responses in the business relationship. The researchers explore a model for increasing the efficacy of relationship marketing in the banking industry, through use of a meta-analysis. Their research impacts on customer loyalty, share, and references (Aali, Mirabi, & Zare, 2014). Relationship marketing is central to many facets in marketing, and more so during the past twenty years (Aali, Mirabi & Zare, 2014).

Existing trends in business, coupled with transitions to a service-based economy, and the development of information and communication technologies, has led to increasing global competition and increased emphasis on the importance and criticality of loyalty with reference to relationship quality and marketing (Aali, Mirbabi, & Zare, 2014). This is among the more competitive sectors explored in research, in part due to increasing use of technology and the similarity of services offered by banking services regardless of whether a vendor is engaged in the public or private sector. Longer-term research suggests that building relationships with customers and others is not necessarily the result of spontaneous effect of relationship; rather, relationships are more likely to be created when marketing strategies are used effectively to build on existing relationships (Aali, Mirabi & Zare, 2014).

Literature, including theoretical and experimental support exists for the presence of relationship quality in marketing relationships. The literature conducted early on relevant to relationship quality in marketing includes empirical research over a 17-year period by Palmatier et al., (2004) which includes a meta-analysis of 97 empirical investigations of over 38,000 marketing relationships and strategies. In this study, the relationship marketing qualities found to be of significant interest include conflict management, expertise of vendors, communication, relationships benefits, dependence on the seller, and the frequency of and duration of interactions among clients and vendors (Palmatier, et al., 2004).

Communication is found to be positively related to quality of relationships, as is conflict management, where individuals responsible for problem resolution work to communicate or maintain constant contact with valuable customers in a relationship in an effort to provide timely and reliable information regarding products, services, and changes in existing relationships and service levels (Nbudisi, 2007). Valuable information coupled with transparency among vendors and clients are vital to increasing and improving trust levels in relationships, serving as a means of reassuring parties invested of common ideals, goals, promises, and outcomes (Lattimore, 2011). Communication with regards to relevant roles and opportunities within a relationship also has been shown to have a positive impact on multiple aspects of the quality of a relationship in marketing (Yang & Capel, 2011).

Research demonstrates that relationship priority depends on many factors including the structural, the social, and the financial bonds that customers and clients maintain with each other (Ulaga & Eggert, 2004). Clients have a duty to consider the effect that financial, social, and structural investment may have on relationship quality, and subsequently offer this information to key leadership to regard structural and social bonds for the purpose of creating and maintaining long-term relationships with customers. To make loyal customer, or to create long-term relationships and subsequent bonds with customers, any organization has a duty to focus on their interior, including their foundation and social structure which may allow for or inhibit networking and marketing activities among different agencies and parties.

Organizations that have implemented tools that include customer relationship management to maintain, evaluate, analyze, and develop customer relationships, and work to offer loyal customers with specialized services, are more likely in the long-term to maintain and preserve long-lasting and profitable customer relationships than those organizations that ignore these key factors (Shamdasani & Balakrishnan, 2000; Henning-Thurau, Gwinner, & Gremler, 2002).

Many factors have contributed to strong relationships, but according to more recent literature approaches that have been used to ascertain relationship quality in marketing do not give enough attention to what is often referred to as a relationship “assessment” approach which allows an entity to diagnose the capability of an organization to manage relationships in environments where the agency may manage multiple relationships and identify where corrective actions may be used to strengthen existing marketing relationships (Kang, Oh & Sivadas, 2014). In situations like this, a structural-equation based model can be used to assess the ability of any agency or organization to maintain relationships with existing partners and to identify areas where an agency may adopt corrective measures to improve the quality of the relationship related to marketing (Kang, Oh & Sivadas, 2014).

Assessment of the ability to maintain relationships or build on existing relationships can dramatically impact relational efficacy regarding marketing approaches. Research supports the use of relationship marketing as an effective weapon for improving the relationship quality and the satisfaction that beneficiaries receive relative to marketing efforts and service provisions (Vanderbosch & Dawar, 2002). Among the multiple ways that agencies can engage clients through relationship marketing is through encouraging feedback, and through interacting with clients routinely, which promotes greater understanding of a client’s need along with perceptions of the quality of service received by clients and recipients (Ulaga, 2003). Individuals with experiences of relationship marketing and surveying report higher levels of satisfaction and greater rates of referrals to their primary service provider, which indicates their overall satisfaction with the level of and type of service provided by the marketer or primary agency (Bennett & Markensjo, 2005).

Several managers and scholars gives suggestions that based on the contexts in which excellent quality relations matter, then the RQ (relationship quality) should inevitably replace the aspect of customer satisfaction and service quality as the primary source of greater performance levels (Palmatier et.al., 2006). This scholar continues asserting that at the end of the period characterized by extreme focus on various ‘impersonal’ relationships setting basis on consequent technological advancements, managers and researchers often re-acknowledge that the main source of enhancing competitive gain is in line with the quality of longstanding relationships amongst the partners.

However, regardless of rapidly growing literature on the aspect of relationship quality, there is increase in ambiguity with respect to the determinants and nature of relationships. But as stated by Huntley (2006), there is still a dire need for critical clarification based on context dependence frameworks. It then necessitates for development of relationships at various levels such as structural, social, and economical levels. In this case, there are powerful social bonds between the clients’ and the managers’ relationships. The bond can therefore enhance the core services or products, as well as their impacts on consumer satisfaction with perceived stronger value that is stronger compared to the economic resources and the company representatives. (Haytko, 2004). Certainly, the relationship managers frequently acts as the sole or the primary contact point to the buyers, thus posing a noteworthy influence regarding the level of quality service delivery (Crosby et al., 1990). The scholar also continues arguing that failure or success of any given relationships is dependent on the manner relationship managers behaves or acts, and the level of strength of social bonds acting between them and subsequent customers.

Despite of this framework, there exist minimal research on antecedents pertaining people-centered inter-organizational relationship qualities (Bolton et al., 2003). The researcher pinpoints his conceptions using a multi-method research study depicting the relationships between restaurants and their close corporate clients. It is an intensive research exploring the nature, determinants, and dimensions of RQ within an organizational context. Even though some studies in this field are advocating for diverse RQ compositions, the primary dimensions that have proved to be significant encompasses the aspects of trust, commitment, and satisfaction. This is the reason the approach and the context of the study at hand has often resulted in conceptualization of relationship quality as a mere high-order paradigm composed of trust and satisfaction as the two main dimensions.

According to Crosby et al., (1990), trust sets basis on the ability of relying on the behavior and ability of the salesperson in such a manner that the buyer’s expectations are met. In this case, the level of assurance and satisfaction alleged by the buyer with regards future performance of the salesperson is inherent due to the consistent and satisfactory nature of the past performances (Crosby et al., 1990). These are some of the elements that are viewed as being equally significant RQ dimensions coexisting without any form of unplanned relationships prevailing between them. It is hence a factor that acts with accordance to several studies identified in literature setting basis on the perspective of modelling the core concept of interest prevailing within the current investigations (Parsons, 2002).

Commitment, as one of the dimensions, is regarded as the consistent motivation by subsequent parties to maintain healthy and quality correlations (Dwyer et al., 1987). Successful relationships are dependent on common commitment existing between the consumers and the service providers. Dwyer et al., (1987) continues arguing that the level of commitment between various partners is essential for every party that aims to attain its set goals and objectives, as well as the maintenance of relationships. The perception towards commitment is often perceived by clients as a medium that can assist in bringing together mutual perspectives at the onset of any organizational spectrum. This is the reason there are some situations whereby when one feels as if the customer’s manager is willing to collaborate, there is a tendency of being a bit flexible in trying to come up with compatible proposals. In line with this, parties usually work together with the aim of achieving mutual objectives when committed to esteemed cooperation.

Based on the above framework, the scholars seem to have realized substantial associations occurring between acquiescence and commitment, propensity of leaving a negative association, as well as subsequent cooperation. Such a deceptive association between mutuality and commitment of objectives is echoed as well amongst the client managers. It can thus be stated that the more dedicated an individual is towards the established partnership, the easier the rate of finding common grounds for doing business. Moorman et al. (1992) gives a suggestion that parties which are committed towards a given relationship tends to assume a behavioral framework leading them to seek appropriate resolutions for their possible differences, as well as the perspective of remaining coherent towards their subsequent commitment.

Furthermore, while Dwyer et al., (1987) suggest that the commitment for overcoming challenges is inherent to mutual relationships to last, Moorman et al. (1992) believes the commitment is correspondent to high relationship status bonding. It can finally be taken into consideration that commitment is a precursor of satisfaction and trust, and tends to be a direct representative of a strong signal with regards to the perception of a given party and the quality of relationships. Therefore, the level of relationship quality is directly proportional to the commitment levels. On the other hand, the level pertaining the mutuality of goals is also directly proportional the commitment levels.

Relationship marketing is a key component assisting in the determination of competiveness of global industries, small business, and large corporations alike. The early history of relationship marketing consisted primarily of identifying variables contributing to relationship quality and marketing, including defining the value of ideas or concepts relative to their implementation in marketing (Rangan & Bowman, 1992; Vanderbosh & Dawar, 2002). Later relationship focused more on the ability of organizations to build trust with one another as part of their marketing efforts (Sullivan & Peterson, 1982). Today relationship marketing encompasses these critical elements of relationship quality and more, by encouraging organizations to build on historical marketing programs using technology, networking, and other platforms to build proactive and integrated solutions. These solutions are built with the intent of best serving the needs of current and would-be customers. Organizations now have the capacity to survey their clients and vendors to determine what aspects of domestic and international marketing and working, and what aspects may require an adjustment to best meet the needs of all parties involved in the marketing supply chain. Regardless, in modern and in previous iterations of relationship quality and marketing, the ability to build trusting relationships has been critical to the ability of an organization or vendor in building trust and a solid reputation with the organization it was working with, and potential future clients.

Marketing is perhaps, best understood by countries rather than organizations. This is particularly true of countries that have strong national pride, where citizens work together to maintain the image and the business prospects of the country and its citizens (Fornell, 1992). Similarly, relationship quality, when good or positive, works to promote what is in the best interest of the consumers and the vendor or suppliers that offer products and services to an increasingly global market.

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