Relationship Marketing and Customer Retention in Container Freight Stations Industry in Kenya: A Case of Mombasa County
Mugwe, Justus Wachira
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In today’s business landscape with intense competition, customer retention is one of the success factors for a firm’s sustainability. Therefore, to survive and remain competitive in the marketplace, the firms cannot rely only on attracting new customers, but they need to retain existing ones. The fundamental prerequisite for achieving customers’ satisfaction and retaining them is to fully meet or exceed their needs, wants, desires, expectations, and willingness to purchase products. This study endeavored to determine the relationship marketing and customer retention in container freight stations in Kenya: a case of Mombasa County. Specifically, the study sought to establish the influence of commitment on customer retention in Container Freight Stations industry in Mombasa County, to determine the influence of trust on customer retention in Container Freight Stations industry in Mombasa County, to establish the extent to which satisfaction can influence customer retention in Container Freight Stations industry in Mombasa County and to establish the effect of conflict handling on customer retention in Container Freight Stations industry in Mombasa County. This study was anchored on the Relationship Marketing Theory, Commitment-Trust Theory, and Social Exchange Theory. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. All the 24 Container Freight Stations within Mombasa County were targeted. This study used 10% of the target population for pilot-testing, and the respondents involved in pilot-testing did not participate in the final study. The actual number of questionnaires used for pilot testing was therefore 36. Stratified random sampling was used to select a sample of 120 managers and 240 customers for the study. A Semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect primary data from the respondents. The primary data collected was analyzed using SPSS, and the analysis included both descriptive and inferential statistics. The specific descriptive statistics included mean, standard deviation, frequency, and percentage, while the specific inferential statistics were correlation and regression analysis. A multiple regression model was used to show the relationship between the independent variables and customer satisfaction. The findings revealed that commitment and customer retention were positively and significantly related (β =.271, p=0.000<.05), trust and customer retention were positively and significantly correlated (β =.098, p=0.044<.05), customer satisfaction and customer retention were positively and significantly related (β =.114, p=0.043<.05) and finally, the results showed that conflict handling was positively and significantly related with customer retention (β =.530, p=0.000<.05). The study concludes that relationship marketing adopted by Container Freight Stations in Mombasa County influences customer retention in those Container Freight Stations. Hence, the study recommends that the management of Container Freight Station in Mombasa County should always strive to create a commitment, trust, customer satisfaction, and conflict handling mechanism between them and their customers. This will bring attachment between the Container Freight Station and the customer, which will lead to the development of stable, long-term relationships. The management should recognize the role of assessing and building a relationship with their customers.