The Effect of Retailer Communication on Customer Advocacy: The Moderating Role of Trust


  • Anna M. Walz Grand Valley State University
  • Kevin G. Celuch University of Southern Indiana


How can services create more engaged customers? Recent efforts to identify service research priorities have affirmed the need to examine this question. It can be argued that advocacy, or the promotion or defense of a company, product, or brand by a customer to another, is one of the most important outcomes of building customer engagement. Communication has been positioned as one of the most effective firm strategies in building relationships, while the level of trust customers ascribe to the firm also can potentially influence relational outcomes, such as advocacy. Most studies only consider the direct or mediating effect that trust plays in relationships though some literature points to the appropriateness of trust as a moderator. We expect that trust in the retailer will moderate the relationship between the perceived quality of retailer communication and a customer's advocacy, such that increasing communication quality will be strongly related to advocacy behavior for customers who trust the retailer. We examine the direct effect of communication quality on advocacy as well as both mediating and moderating effects of trust on the communication quality-advocacy relationship. The hypotheses were tested with hierarchical regression analysis using survey data from 1068 customers of a regional coffee house chain. Results support the predictions of moderation. Findings hold implications for future research as well as for managerial practice.



— Updated on 2022-02-07


  • 2022-02-07 (2)
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