Understanding the process of switching providers is a topic of much debate and interest amongst market scholars and managers. What has not been studied in-depth until now, is the influence of inertia on customer advocacy, customer satisfaction and switching intentions. Results based on qualitative and quantitative research of 799 mobile phone service customers showed that customer inertial factors such as confusion; competitor attraction (i.e. the lack of perceived differentiation amongst alternative service providers); habit or passivity in continuing with the same product/service supplier; switching costs; customer ambivalence and time constraints can negatively impact customer advocacy, customer satisfaction and switching intentions. The implications for research and management are that customer inertia is a complex variable best uncovered in qualitative research. If used unwisely it has the capacity to allow a brand to temporarily get away with poor service in situations where their clients perceive that there are high costs of changing to an alternative supplier. The longer term costs however are diminished customer advocacy and customer satisfaction.
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- The Influence of Inertia on Brand Switching Behaviour