Switching barriers in business-to-business services: a qualitative study

Venkata Yanamandram, Lesley White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose ' To investigate the determinants of behavioural brand loyalty amongst dissatisfiedcustomers in the business-to-business (B2B) services sector.Design/methodology/approach ' A qualitative study was conducted, with 28 personal interviewsundertaken with managers who are involved in the choice of service providers. The respondentsbelonged to 24 organisations located in Australia. Template analysis and eyeballing were techniquesused to analyse the data collected.Findings ' Assessment of the reasons why dissatisfied customers stayed with the service providersresulted in six categories. The categories were found to be, in order of decreasing frequency, impact ofalternative providers, switching costs (18), others (17), inertia (14), investment in relationships (13), andservice recovery (13). The results not only confirmed factors found in the literature, but also uncovered11 other factors.Research limitations/implications ' The sample size, whilst appropriate for qualitative research,should be considered adequate only for exploratory analysis and a further quantitative study is neededto validate the study.Practical implications ' This study is important for those firms who have many prospectiveswitchers because it is important to understand why these customers stay, and to what extent suchfirms can discourage such customers from leaving in both positive and negative ways. For thoseservice firms that are attempting to attract these prospective switchers, an understanding of why theydo not switch is important, as it will enable them to develop strategies to overcome these switchingbarriers and gain market share.Originality/value ' This research is the first study to investigate in a single model a range ofbarriers to switching in a B2B services context. The results that confirmed categories found in theliterature also discovered 11 other factors not evidentin the extant literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-192
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Service Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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