Handbook on Research in Relationship Marketing
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Handbook on Research in Relationship Marketing

Edited by Robert M. Morgan, Janet Turner Parish and George Deitz

The Handbook on Research in Relationship Marketing includes contributions from relationship marketing experts in business-to-business, business-to-consumer, global services, technology and a variety of other contexts of practice. Academics, students, and marketing professionals will all benefit from the insights provided. The Handbook begins with reviews of the developments in relationship marketing over the last two decades by noted relationship marketing scholars including Jagdish Sheth, Atul Parvatiyar, Evert Gummesson and Robert Morgan. It continues with detailed discussions of special topics that will be valuable to anyone interested in relationship marketing.
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Chapter 3: Relational benefits research: a synthesis

Dwayne D. Gremler and Kevin P. Gwinner


The publication of a book on relationship marketing attests to the immense interest, among academics and practitioners alike, in various facets of the relationships between commercial exchange partners. Our particular interest in this topic stems from our research into the benefits that accrue to customers when they engage in long-term relationships with companies. These customer relational benefits (RBs), in our research, consist of “those benefits customers receive from long-term relationships above and beyond the core service performance” (Gwinner et al. 1998: 102). For example, in an overnight delivery context, the on-time delivery of a package by a package delivery service represents the core service provision. Repeated usage of the firm that has resulted in many successful, on-time deliveries should lead a customer to feel confidence and reduced anxiety about the next package arriving on time; confidence and reduced anxiety represent the RB. Building on our interest in RBs, we pursue two primary goals in this chapter. First, we seek to review and categorize extant literature that explores RBs from the customer’s perspective. We also compare and contrast RBs with switching costs in the course of making the observation that these two constructs actually may describe the same phenomena. Second, on the basis of our review and observations, we offer a variety of suggestions for further academic inquiry within the RB domain. In suggesting a research agenda, we hope to spark additional exploration into this research topic that is both managerially relevant and theoretically grounded.

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