The linear functional form of the effect of customer satisfaction on repurchase intentions may not be adequate under all circumstances; however, we lack a clear understanding of the factors that may drive variation in the functional forms of the satisfaction-loyalty relationship. Building on existing research, the authors consider how the functional form of the effect of satisfaction on repurchase intentions varies across segments formed at the intersection of product categories and customer economic and demographic variables. A comprehensive data set obtained from the sponsors of the Chinese Customer Satisfaction Index provides the input for a flexible cubic regression configuration to model the functional forms. The linear functional form emerges as the most prominent across 972 product-customer segments (51%), followed in frequency by the S-shaped and convex forms and, finally, the inverse S-shape and concave forms. Different product category characteristics, customer economic and demographic variables, and market characteristics moderate the effect of satisfaction on repurchase intentions differently for the linear, quadratic, and cubic terms. This research reveals key resource allocation implications based on the functional forms of the effect of satisfaction on repurchase intentions, as well as strategic segmentation implications related to the varying influence of product category characteristics, customer economic and demographic variables, and market characteristics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes