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customer relational benefit, health service, relationship marketing, relationship commitment



  1. Weng, Rhay-Hung
  2. Huang, Jin-An
  3. Huang, Ching-Yuan
  4. Huang, Shih-Chang


Background: An increasing number of health service sectors have begun to implement relationship marketing to try to establish long-term relationship with customers.


Purpose: Customer relational benefit has been an important subject for relationship marketing researchers. This study was conducted to investigate how customer relational benefit might influence relationship commitment in health service sectors.


Methodology: The research used a questionnaire survey that retrieved a total number of 403 valid questionnaires. The data were collected by way of personal visits and investigations of outpatients in three regional hospitals in Taiwan. After the reliability and the validity of the questionnaire sample were examined, the data were verified by using hierarchical regression analysis.


Findings: Results showed that confidence benefit constituted the most pronounced factor for hospital customers. Confidence benefit, social benefit, and special treatment benefit were perceived by customers as the key factors that have a positive influence on relationship commitment. In particular, customers placing greater emphasis on confidence benefit tended to be less willing to establish relationship commitment.


Practice Implications: When health service managers develop marketing strategies using customer relational benefit, they will still need to enhance customer confidence benefit as one of the main ways of achieving future improvements. In the event where health service managers seek to install resources for establishing and maintaining a good relationship commitment with customers, the crucial factors of social and special treatment benefits should not be ignored when seeking to enhance the customers' perception of confidence benefit.