From prisoners to apostles: A typology of repeat buyers and loyal customers in service businesses

Academic Article


  • Research in customer satisfaction over the past decade has lead to a much richer understanding of service quality and customer expectations. In trying to untangle the linkage between satisfied customers and long-term success for the organization, however, attention has evolved from a focus on customer satisfaction to a realization that retaining customers and developing loyalty are essential for organizational success. This interpretive investigation focuses on customer retention and loyalty in an effort to understand better these variables in the context of service organizations. In so doing we review the rise of managerial concern for customer retention and loyalty and examine the definitions and relationships of these constructs. Then, to develop a richer understanding of repeat buyers, semi-structured interviews were conducted with consumers identifying themselves as “loyal”. A typology of loyalty is offered consisting of five levels of repeat buyers, ranging from “prisoners” to “apostles”. Additionally, the managerial implications of this typology are discussed. © 2002, MCB UP Limited
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Folkman Curasi C; Norman Kennedy K
  • Start Page

  • 322
  • End Page

  • 341
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 4