Yi-Chun Ou, University of Groningen
Lisette de Vries, University of Groningen
Thorsten Wiesel, Westfälische Wilhelms–Universität Münster
Peter C. Verhoef, University of Groningen

How can firms retain customers during recessions? To answer this question, we investigate the moderating role of consumer confidence (CC) on the effects of three types of crucial customer loyalty strategies. These strategies are value equity (VE), brand equity (BE), and relationship equity (RE), collectively called customer equity drivers (CEDs). We build on economics and marketing theories to develop our hypotheses on the concerned moderating role. A meta-analysis is used to synthesize the multilevel results of 13 service industries and to test the hypotheses. In addition, we use several robustness checks to validate the findings of the meta-analysis. The results consistently show that CC partly influences the effects of CEDs on customer loyalty and this influence varies across industries. These findings suggest that managers in service industries should consider CC as an important criterion for effectively adjusting customer loyalty strategies to their specific situation. Specifically, during recessions, when CC is relatively low, VE is effective for retaining customers, but this is more apparent for noncontractual settings than for contractual settings. Also, BE is more effective but only for noncontractual firms.


* Yi-Chun Ou, Lisette de Vries, Thorsten Wiesel, and Peter C. Verhoef. “The role of consumer confidence in creating customer loyalty.” Journal of Service Research 17, no. 3 (2014): 339-354.