چشم انداز در سیاست های مدیریت شکایت مشتری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|19442||2012||6 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6000 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, , Volume 65, Issue 6, June 2012, Pages 788-793
This research reports the findings of an exploratory study on the everyday management of customer complaints in the French business-to-business sector. A web-based survey rendered 57 eligible responses from managers who deal with customer contacts on an everyday basis. A Lindblomian perspective is applied to analyze customer relationship management (CRM) systems and policies for managing customer complaints. Findings indicate that such systems do not influence how managers perceive their communication with customers. Furthermore, the findings demonstrate that a formal policy for managing customer complaints affects the adjustments that companies make in situations marked by difficulties in choosing solutions to a customer’s problem and knowing what the outcomes will be.
In a seminal paper, Lindblom (1959) notes that “muddling through” is both a highly sophisticated form of problem solving and widely denounced as no method at all. Muddling through, or disjointed incrementalism, describes an exploratory process for solving problems in a step-by-step mode, according to the constraints set by the specific situation in which the problem occurs (Lindblom, 1959). Such muddling through approaches might also appear in companies' efforts to manage customer complaints, because managers often lack sufficient time to evaluate all alternative solutions and their consequences. Some good solutions also result without analysis; if customers are happy, managers have no reason to dig further into the problem. Therefore, not until customers complain is managers' problem-solving ability put to the test (e.g., Johnston and Mehra, 2002). This paper analyzes the role of policies in such situations, which are defined as guidelines, or rules that help managers to resolve conflicts (Mintzberg and Quinn 1992). The quality of companies’ customer relationships is tested in everyday customer relationship management (CRM) practice. This testing is apparent because every interaction with customers may involve unforeseen events, which make it difficult for companies to control quality. Both suppliers and customers recognize this issue, but the two parties might disagree on the causes of a problem and the appropriate solution (Bitner et al., 1994). Managing unforeseen events is critical, because customers who perceive inferior supplier performance are likely to signal their intentions to switch supplier (Gruber et al., 2006, Hansen et al., 1996 and Zeithaml et al., 1996). For example, customers might complain directly to the supplier, engage in negative word-of-mouth communication, or take legal action (Gruber et al., 2006 and Zeithaml et al., 1996). Consequently, suppliers must undertake complaint management efforts, including communication with complaining customers and attempts to restore customer satisfaction by rectifying mistakes or bringing products back into working order (e.g., Fornell and Wernerfelt, 1988). In turn, managing customer complaints demands an identification of the problem and the factors that cause that issue. To investigate the role of policies in this context, this study reports on the complaint management in 57 companies in the French business-to-business (B2B) sector. The view on policies for the management of customer complaints in the context of companies’ CRM activities draws upon Lindblom, 1959 and Lindblom, 1968, who suggests that a policy is sometimes a compromise among policy makers, none of whom had in mind the problem to which the policy is the solution. A policy might stem from an opportunity, not a problem, and other policies never involve agreement but nevertheless “just happen.” Analyses of policy alternatives could be limited to those options that differ only marginally from the practiced policy (Lindblom, 1959), such that a policy for managing customer complaints might develop out of unanticipated problems and opportunities. A policy that “just happens” illustrates how managers adopt procedures that evolve into an informal policy, which later becomes a formal policy for dealing with customer complaints. With regard to the factors that influence policy making, Hirschman and Lindblom (1962) highlight that policies might adjust according to available means. A company's policy for managing customer complaints thus might reflect the resources available. Furthermore, a Lindblomian perspective on policies in the CRM context allows for a deeper analysis of the relationship between a policy and measures used to handle customer complaints when no best solution exists, and when it is difficult to identify what the outcomes of efforts to solve a problem will be. The purpose of this research is to examine the role of policies in dealing with customer complaints. Akin to studies by Homburg and Fürst, 2005, Homburg and Fürst, 2007 and Johnston and Mehra, 2002, this investigation analyzes customer complaints from the supplier's perspective, in an attempt to provide further insights into organizational responses and the guidelines that facilitate complaint management. Insights about the role of policies for managing customer complaints can inform the corrective measures that suppliers must adopt to follow standardized procedures (e.g., Johnston and Mehra, 2002). Homburg and Fürst (2005) demonstrate differences in complaint satisfaction when companies follow mechanistic (formal) guidelines versus organic (informal) procedures for complaint management. However, these authors do not examine how formal and informal policies might affect complaint management when all available solutions have drawbacks and decision makers cannot foresee the outcomes of their decision. The Lindblomian perspective in this paper sets out to close this gap. By analyzing how a policy affects complaint handling when managers experience uncertainty, this study contributes to the current body of knowledge on complaint management and offers findings of interest for academics and marketers who investigate the factors that affect companies' CRM. The paper is structured as follows. The next section discusses existing literature to develop a framework of hypotheses that address CRM systems and the role of policies in companies' complaint management. The third section describes an online survey of firms in the French B2B sector. The fourth section presents the methods of analysis and this research's findings. This paper closes with a discussion of the results and some avenues for further enquiry.