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Consumer perceptions and experiences of relationships with service organisations: financial, travel and tourism organisations.

Cramer, D. E. A.., 2009. Consumer perceptions and experiences of relationships with service organisations: financial, travel and tourism organisations. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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The theory and practice of marketing has encountered some fundamental changes in the past and will continue to do so in the future. In the last two decades organisations have increasingly been focussing on how to relate to their markets. One response to this complexity of the marketing environment has been Relationship Marketing (RM). While the benefits of long-term and trusting relationships with consumers have generally been accepted, many organisations struggle to establish and/or maintain relationships with their consumers. One of the reasons for this is that the implications of the consumers' perspective with regards to their relationships with organisations have not been investigated and are missing from the current literature. In acknowledgement, this research explored consumers' perspectives and experiences of their relationships with organisations, in particular, with reference to financial and travel and tourism organisations. The study employed an interpretive approach to research using qualitative methods to identify the key dimensions involved in interactions with organisations from a consumer's perspective. Discussion groups and in-depth interviews were carried out with members of staff of educational institutions and clubs and societies of Bournemouth. Key findings showed that the word 'relationship' caused confusion in meaning with respect to organisations due to the personal connotations that consumers associate with the word. Consumers distinguish between relationships at an emotional level (relational) and at a behavioural level (transactional). The latter was perceived to occur in relationships with organisations as opposed to the more emotional level taking place in personal relationships. In addition, a relationship moves through different phases (relationship flower) which are interlinked and involves key dimensions like trust (emotional and logical). Consumers' needs and requirements change throughout life resulting in adjustments of their relationships. The focus on the two different industry sectors (financial and travel/tourism) aided to outline the two different levels of relationships (emotional and behavioural/transactional) even further and enabled a relationship matrix to be developed highlighting the degree of relational involvement and the degree of risk involved in the different type of relationships. To conclude, this research suggests that due to the confusion concerning the word 'relationship' organisations need to incorporate key dimensions of a relationship in to their management strategies. In particular, focus should be on newly established or less mature relationships because consumers expect less personal contact in more mature relationships. In fact, an understanding of the changing lifestyle needs and requirements a consumer has will give organisations the opportunity to amend their relationship strategies accordingly. This will then allow their consumers to choose the type of relationship (relational or transactional) they wish to have. In order to help organisations this research offers a relationship model (flower) which feeds into the after sales/purchase stage of the consumer decision-making process (CDP) by highlighting the different phases of a relationship lifetime indicating the key elements that are involved in each phase. Further research may be carried out in how organisations have responded to the increased uncertainty with regards to their relationship strategies and compare it to consumer perceptions of how the economic crisis has affected their relationships with organisations.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:16058
Deposited On:10 Sep 2010 08:11
Last Modified:09 Aug 2022 16:02


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