We examine consumer switching decisions in contractual service settings and contrast the drivers of actual switching with those of switching intent. We surveyed a panel of subscribers to all cell phone service providers in a market and recorded key marketing mix data. At four months intervals, we asked panel members about their switching intentions and then subsequently observed actual switching behavior. Consistent with construal level theory, our findings show that switching intent is explained by only a handful of desirability- or outcome-related variables (i.e., overall satisfaction, performance perceptions of important attributes, and monetary switching costs). In contrast, the results show that many more variable categories contributed to explain actual switching behavior. These findings confirm that switching intent is driven by a qualitatively different set of variables than switching behavior. Implications for theory, research and practice are discussed.
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- Construal level theory
- Switching behavior
- Switching intent