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Client defection in the design industry: a study of the causes, process and context of switching agencies

Vafeas, M. and Hilton, T. (2002) Client defection in the design industry: a study of the causes, process and context of switching agencies. The Design Journal, 5 (1). pp. 14-25. ISSN 1460-6925 Available from:

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This paper explores the factors that cause client defection in the graphic design industry within the context of the business relationship in which it takes place. The paper examines the literature pertaining to defection, loyalty, relationship dynamics, service failure and service recovery. It highlights studies that demonstrate the financial benefits of customer retention while bemoaning the fact that few organisations seem to understand the importance of developing long-term relationships. A qualitative approach was adopted for the primary research. The findings show that the most common reasons for switching are dissatisfaction with either pricing or design quality. A new model of switching behaviour is proposed, together with a set of practical measures that design agencies can instigate to reduce the likelihood of defection. The implications of this study suggest that design agencies should encourage more active and co-operative participation in the relationship by clients.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:The full text attached to this record is not the final published version. This version can be found at:
Uncontrolled Keywords:client defection, client switching, design industry
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Business and Law
ID Code:16686
Deposited By: Dr M. Vafeas
Deposited On:02 May 2012 09:50
Last Modified:05 Jul 2015 12:41

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