The effects of respect and rapport on relationship quality perception of customers of small healthcare firms
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Abstract Purpose - Consequent upon the intense competitive nature of today's business environment, service businesses are seeking for the most creative but effective means of attracting and retaining customers. One of the ways is to build quality relationship via interpersonal relationship with customers. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate two ways of building interpersonal relationship with customers - respect and rapport, and their impact on overall customer perceived relationship quality, as well as the role of context/environment. Design/methodology/approach - This preliminary study reports on empirical results from a survey of customers of dental clinics in Malaysia. Data from a questionnaire survey of 563 respondents were analysed using factor analysis, Pearson correlation and hierarchical multiple regression analysis. The authors estimated the direct effect of respect and rapport on relationship quality as well as the moderating effect of context (cosmopolitan vs traditional milieu). Findings - The results show that both rapport and respect are important in building quality relationship with customers. Environment/context has a direct effect on relationship quality. Context moderates the relationship between rapport and relationship quality but does not moderate the relationship between respect and relationship quality. Practical implications - This research is of practical use to service companies (especially healthcare service providers) interested in developing effective strategies for building quality relationship with customers. Building good rapport and respecting customers are useful relational strategies to pursue. Originality/value - The effect of rapport and respect on relationship quality in the Asian context has not been studied before. The paper sheds light on the overlooked dimensions of respect and service sector (small healthcare businesses) and also highlights the contextual implications of the findings.
Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics
Marketing not elsewhere classified