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Consumer trust in service companies: a multiple mediating analysis

Roland Kantsperger, Werner H. Kunz
Published: 26 January 2010
 by  Emerald
Managing Service Quality: An International Journal , Volume 20, pp 4-25; doi:10.1108/09604521011011603

Abstract: Purpose – The concept of “trust” has gained considerable importance in the field of marketing during the last decades and is seen as a key mediator of customer relationship marketing. But upon a closer look at the literature, the construct “trust” is conceptualized and measured very differently. Based on a literature review and theoretical work, the purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptual model of consumer trust in a service company, which distinguishes two fundamental dimensions. Using these dimensions, it is possible to detect different mediating effects of trust in the customer relationship to the service company. Design/methodology/approach – Antecedents and consequences of trust are studied in a business-to-consumer services context in the banking industry. To test hypotheses, empirical data are collected from a sample of 232 retail bank customers with checking accounts. By means of a LISREL approach, two rivalling measurement models of trust are compared and show various mediating effects. Findings – The empirical data support the two-dimensional model of trust. Further, the two dimensions of trust are mediating the effect of customer satisfaction (CS) differently. In particular, it is shown that “benevolence” has a significantly greater influence on customer loyalty than “credibility.” Finally, beside CS, the customer's propensity to trust also influences trust. Research limitations/implications – Findings are limited to the cross-sectional design of the study and the financial industry. Practical implications – For the management of consumers' trust perception, the adequate conceptualization and measurement of trust is central. The aspect of benevolence is crucial for creating consumer loyalty and trust as well as the building of customer relationships. Consequently, management should foster activities to signal customers to be benevolent partners (e.g. service guarantees and branding) to ensure a high-quality service experience. Originality/value – In previous research, trust has been often conceptualized and measured in an inconsistent and unequivocal way. In the proposed approach, the two facets of trust are theoretically conceptualized and measured separately. Thus, differentiated effects of antecedents as well as consequences of trust can be detected.
Keywords: model / theoretical / building / Company / Antecedents / Customer relationship / mediating / Consequences of Trust

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