Researchers have argued that consumers frequently view marketing efforts as intrusive and that they fail to exhibit either trust or commitment. However, studies have found that some customers develop strong emotional relationships with firms, often independently of firm-driven relationship-building efforts. These confusing findings indicate that there is a need for additional research to explore the dynamics underlying service firm—customer relationships. The aim of this study is to elucidate customers' conception and manifestation of their relationships with service firms. Therefore, the objectives are to uncover the extent to which various types of customers exhibit relational links with service firms and to generate insights into the manner in which such identification is manifested. After a review of recent studies into relationship marketing, the authors present and explain the research design and method. Then, the authors present the findings that emerged during the focus groups and in-depth interviews with soccer supporters
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