Purpose: Given the role of communication in relationship development and maintenance, the purpose of this study is to examine the multidimensional nature of relationship communication and examine its association with customers’ cognitive and affective states (consisting of trust, intimacy and image) and relationship commitment. Design/methodology/approach: A set of hypotheses is developed based on review of the literature. The hypotheses are tested empirically using partial least square path modelling on survey data collected from users of retail banking services. Findings: Results show that relationship communication is a second-order construct consisting of the first-order factors of clarity, pleasantness, responsiveness and language. The findings suggest that service firm’s communications influence customers’ cognitive and affective states, which, in turn, affects customer’s commitment towards the firm. Practical implications: The study provides useful insights to both researchers and practitioners on the role of relationship communication in relationship development and maintenance. Through investigation of the relationship communication dimensions, an optimum communication mix can be achieved to deliver messages in an effective way to the customers. Originality/value: The contribution of the study lies in proposing and testing relationship communication as a higher-order construct and explicating its role in developing committed customers.