; Pleasantly Surprising Clients: A Tactic in Relationship Marketing for Building Competitive Advantage in the Financial Services Sector*
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Pleasantly Surprising Clients: A Tactic in Relationship Marketing for Building Competitive Advantage in the Financial Services Sector*

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The turbulent environment in which financial institutions evolve motivates strategic thinking aimed at competitive advantage. Drawing from the literature on relationship marketing, one potentially successful strategy at the level of front line service is for financial advisors to behave in a pleasantly surprising way toward their clients (e.g., acknowledging a family member's birthday; covering a parking expense; giving tickets to an entertainment venue). We examine both antecedents and consequences of clients' perceptions of their advisors behaving in a pleasantly surprising way toward them. Antecedents included advisors' customer orientation, knowledge of client, and sense of humour. Consequences included clients' trust, satisfaction, purchase intentions, and word-of-mouth intentions. Several strategic recommendations and research avenues following from these findings are offered. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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