– The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of consumer sociability and service provider perceived expertise on service relationship success.
– A sample of 281 consumers in the USA, randomly selected with the assistance of a commercial list service, completed the survey. Structural equations modeling, was used to test the proposed model.
Findings– The findings show that customer sociability and service provider expertise are important to relationship success. In addition, the duration of the relationship was found to be a consequence of satisfaction and a driver of social benefits, which strengthens customer commitment.
– Personality traits have been previously examined in a low involvement retail setting and not found to be a significant influence on commitment. This study finds that sociability does have a significant impact on service relationship success; thus, providing support for the importance of customer traits in relationship marketing in some contexts.
– While provider characteristics are expected to influence customer commitment, this study provides evidence that at least one consumer personality trait (i.e. sociability) appears to impact commitment to a provider in high involvement services. Healthcare providers should be aware that the personality of the patient may be a driver of satisfaction with and commitment to the physician, despite the doctor's perceived level of expertise.
– This research fills a gap in the literature on the link between customer traits and service relationships in a healthcare setting. Since consumers are co‐participants in service delivery, it is important to understand how their characteristics impact service relationship success.