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The four Cs of customer loyalty

Rowley, Jennifer (2005) The four Cs of customer loyalty. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 23 (6). pp. 574-581. ISSN 1758-8049

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Abstract

Abstract: Purpose – To propose a categorisation of customer loyalty types to further increase our understanding of the nature of loyalty. Design/methodology/approach – By segmenting customers who are both loyal in attitude and behaviour to a brand, a model is proposed that differentiates between customers whose loyalty is inertial, and those whose loyalty is positive. Findings – Four categories of loyal customer are proposed: captive, convenience-seekers, contented and committed. The behaviours and attitudes that can be expected of customers in these different categories are discussed. It is also suggested that customers in different categories will respond in different ways to triggers to switching. Further research that investigates customers' reasons for loyalty behaviour in relation to a portfolio of brands is recommended to validate the model and to enhance understanding and predictability of customer loyalty propensities. Originality/value – There is agreement that loyals are important for the future of the business, and that this category is deserving of special attention. Since loyalty is key in customer development and profitability, it is important to understand the loyalty condition in more detail, and to use this understanding to develop further the relationship with customers in the loyal category. The model proposed here subdivides loyals in Dick and Basu's categorisation based on behaviour and attitudes. Four categories of loyalty are proposed: captive, contented, convenience-seeker and committed. Each is described and discussed, and their management implications and research agendas identified. It is noted that any one individual is likely to exhibit the characteristics of each of these categories in relation to different products, services, outlets, and their associated brands. This is a speculative model at this stage of development, which is intended to provoke further thought about the nature of loyalty.

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