Whilst the relationship marketing literature is expanding at a rather exponential rate, rapport between customers and front line employees did not get its due attention especially in the context of banking service in traditional, developing economies. This has delimited the efficacy of the established relationship theories in explaining the antecedent effect of trust, commitment, service quality and involvement for developing rapport leading to overall client (customer) satisfaction. The focus of this research, thus, is rapport. This chapter acts as a preamble that sets the ball rolling by presenting the research background; explaining the research problem and scope; and discussing the research questions. A brief note explaining the
…show more content…
Gremler and Gwinner (2000) defined rapport as enjoyable interaction and personal connection between the interactants. In fact, rapport developed through interactions with a service firm’s contact employees ultimately shapes customers’ perceptions about their relationship (Wang and Davis, 2008) which in turn results in satisfaction with that firm (Mckintosh, 2009). But satisfying customers in the context of long term continuing services such as retail banking is quite different from single transaction based services such as pay phone, highway toll etc. (Lovelock, 1983). It becomes more challenging and complex for financial service providers such as banks due to the presence of the risk element inherent in their services.
A review of the prior studies tend to identify trust, commitment, customer involvement, and service quality as the most widely used underlying constructs in the extant relationship literature involving customer satisfaction (Ouyang, 2010). Several other researchers also looked into the inter-relationships of these constructs (Morgan and Hunt, 1994; Adamson et. al., 2003); but ‘rapport’ has not been researched that much. It is, however, important to note that each of these four antecedents could be viewed as composite constructs with different established underlying constituents or dimensions (such as Trust subsumes competence, contractual and goodwill trust; Commitment can be broken down into affective, calculative and normative