The role of individual relationship marketing factors in influencing customer retention among microfinance institutions in Kenya
Organizations seeking a competitive advantage are increasingly embracing relationship marketing programs to manage customer relationships more efficiently. However, despite the deployment of such relationship management programs, customer retention continues to be the greatest challenge facing many organizations. This paper argues that relationship marketing factors - trust, commitment, strong bonds, communication, shared values and keeping promises - each plays a unique role in influencing customer retention, however, the nature of the influence of these individual factors on customer retention moreover in a developing market context has not been empirically investigated much. Relying on social exchange theory and relational market behavior theory, this study sought to determine the relationship between these relational factors and customer retention. Data were collected among 492 customers of Kenya's microfinance sector, using a structured self-administered questionnaire. The association between individual relationship marketing factors and customer retention was tested through simple linear regression analysis. Results showed that among the six relational factors, communication and shared values were the most significant. The study makes a theoretical contribution to the relationship marketing knowledge base by providing empirical evidence on the role of individual relationship marketing factors in predicting customer retention. Marketing practitioners should develop relationship management programs that promote communication effectiveness and shared values.
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