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An examination of consumers' motives to switch energy suppliers

Walsh, G. and Groth, M. and Wiedmann, K. (2005) An examination of consumers' motives to switch energy suppliers. Journal of Marketing Management, 21 (3). pp. 421-440. ISSN 0267-257X

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Abstract

In most European countries, the energy industry continues to undergo dramatic changes. Customer relationship management concepts and their central focus - customer retention - are playing an increasingly significant role in the marketing considerations of energy supply companies. However, little is known about the reasons why customers remain loyal to a particular energy supplier or why they switch suppliers. The purpose of this study was to identify customers' switching motives, to investigate the relationship between customer satisfaction and switching intentions as well as to identify switching segments. A total of 462 customers of a German energy supplier were surveyed regarding their perceptions and future intentions in relation to their energy provider. Results using regression analysis show that customer satisfaction had a significant effect on switching intentions. Cluster analysis identified three distinct switching clusters; dissatisfied customers, relative satisfied customers seeking change, and dissatisfied customers seeking change. Results of this study are discussed in light of its theoretical as well as practical implications.