Purpose - This study seeks to extend current research by testing a framework for understanding the impact of perceived suppliers' willingness for customization, effective communication, and trust regarding perceived switching costs. Design/methodology/approach - Research data were collected from electronics firms in Taiwan; 281 questionnaires were collected. Structural equation model (SEM) analysis was applied to the data. Findings - The study suggests that perceived trust contributes to perceived switching costs. The perceived willingness of a supplier to customize for a buyer can indirectly impact on perceived switching costs by way of perceived trust toward the supplier. Furthermore, analysis of the direct and indirect effects reveals that effective communication plays a dominant role and has a significant influence on trust and perceived switching costs. Originality/value - While recent research increasingly examines customer switching costs in terms of antecedents, this study provides greater insight into switching costs from the trust-forming perspective to ensure customer retention.