مدیریت روابط مشتری: گردش مالی مدیریت حساب و مدیریت موثر حساب
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21509||2007||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||5740 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 36, Issue 2, February 2007, Pages 241–248
Managing relationships with customers and clients is a critical task for industrial sales organizations. This paper reports on research that focuses on improving client relationships through effective handling of account manager turnover and improved account management. Even in situations where account manager turnover is high, the relationship between the company and the SME client does not suffer if the account management turnover process is well managed. When account manager turnover is not well managed, customer satisfaction suffers. The research also identifies eleven specific management activities that are highly related to supplier satisfaction with both the account manager and the supplier financial institution.
Managing relationships with customers and clients is a critical task for industrial sales organizations. Account managers (including global account managers, key account managers as well as sales representatives) are charged with managing these relationships on behalf of the firms that employ them. In spite of the importance of the management of customer relationships as an integral facet of industrial firms' relationship marketing efforts, little research has focused on how account management practice can contribute to more successful client/customer relationships. In particular, although it is recognized that “salespeople turnover is a pervasive and costly problem that affects most salesforces”, ((Darmon, 2004, page 291) and references therein), almost no empirical research has studied the effect of account manager turnover on relationships with customers. It is known that “for a variety of reasons, turnover in sales staff has typically been higher than many other employee groups. (Mathews & Redman, 2001, page 541). The main purpose of this paper is to report on research that focuses on improving client relationships through effective administration of account management. Specifically, the research focuses on: 1. How account manager turnover is related to the satisfaction of customers and clients with their supplier companies, 2. Exploring how specific tasks that account managers perform in managing relationships with their customers are related to the satisfaction of customers and clients with account managers and their supplier companies. The context chosen for the study is the financial services sector and the relationship between financial institutions and their small and medium sized enterprise (SME) customers. The next section of the paper reviews the context for the study and the relevant literature. This section is followed by a description of the methodologies employed and data used. The research findings are presented subsequently and the paper closes with a discussion of findings and draws conclusions. The work shows that even in situations where account manager turnover is high, the relationship between the company and the SME client does not suffer if the account management turnover process is well managed. When account manager turnover is not well managed, customer satisfaction suffers with the concomitant likelihood of the financial institution losing what had been a long-term customer. The research also identifies eleven specific management activities that are highly related to supplier satisfaction with both the account manager and the supplier financial institution.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
These results show that it is not so much whether turnover occurs, but how it is handled, that impacts customer satisfaction with their supplier bank. This finding makes a contribution to current knowledge regarding the handling of account manager turnover (Crosby et al., 1990, Perrien and Ricard, 1995, Tyler and Stanley, 1999b and Watson, 1986). SMEs which had experienced no change in their account manager during the previous three years were significantly more satisfied than were SMEs who had experienced turnover which was not well handled, but they were less satisfied than SMEs who experienced turnover which was well handled. This research confirms previous work (Crosby et al., 1990 and Watson, 1986) regarding the importance of the turnover of front line people. It furthers the qualitative research (Perrien & Ricard, 1995) reporting that account manager turnover itself is not perceived by client companies as a necessary threat to the quality of the relationship. Rather, the real threat is how well the turnover process is handled in the relationship. Given that some amount of account manager turnover will almost certainly remain a fact of life in the financial services industry, as well as in many other industrial services sectors, it is meaningful to consider the implications of this finding. First, the research suggests that supplier companies devote attention and resources to the process of administering account manager turnover. The lesson appears to be that turnover can be managed in ways that will not severely negatively impact SME client satisfaction. It must be recognized that because a relationship is 2-sided, both the SME and the supplier financial institution can take actions when turnover occurs to improve the success of the turnover process. The qualitative interviews suggested that one of the frustrations with account manager turnover on the part of SME clients was the need to educate new account managers re: the SME and its business. This finding suggests that developing turnover processes minimizing some of the SME burden in educating new relationship account managers would be a worthwhile activity for the supplier organization to undertake. Secondly, supplier companies could formalize the account management turnover process, building procedures and activities to be performed to assist in the turnover process. However, further research is also required on the issue of how account management turnover is being handled and to investigate the specific factors in the turnover process that SME clients find satisfying and those that cause SMEs the greatest difficulties in the process. Thirdly, the research suggests that turnover in itself does not necessarily result in costs to the relationship. Costs will manifest themselves if the turnover is not well handled, but may be avoided if the supplier organization takes actions to manage the turnover process well. A key hypothesis for future research is that the costs of managing account manager turnover are far lower than the costs of not doing so. The research has identified, and listed in Table 1, eleven specific activities that account managers can perform in their relationships with SME client customers which appear to be strongly, related to both satisfaction with account managers and supplier organizations. As such, it is important to consider each of these activities in turn and consider what each implies for effective account management. The limited time that loan account managers can devote to an average of 80–120 SME accounts (Haines & Riding, 1994) reduces the manager's ability to assess risk and provides fertile ground for misunderstandings and miscommunication. It is necessary in such situations for the account manager to adopt a disciplined and rigorous approach to the account management process. It was found that all aspects of the account manager–client are highly correlated with each other. This means that this research is necessarily limited with respect to comments about relative importance. With this caveat, however, it appears that flexibility, reliability and resourcefulness are the most strongly correlated with overall satisfaction. With the same qualification, the roles that are lower in importance appear to relate to the logistics of the relationship: promptness, approachability, and ease of contact. The research shows that attempts to offer resourceful solutions are viewed positively on the part of the SME client. Likewise, SME clients also value flexibility on the part of account managers. Flexibility may not be built into the job description for many account managers, but the customer values it when the account manager can exhibit it. Being ‘reliable’ is associated with these activities and is also a desirable trait for the account manager from the customer's point of view. As noted, all of the eleven relationship management activities are strongly correlated with overall satisfaction and with satisfaction with the account manager. Therefore, it is also necessary that the account manager understands the business and not only show an interest in doing business with the client but to regard the client as a valued customer. Even in the face of considerable time pressures, it is worthwhile for the account manager to take time to learn what type of business the SME is operating and the basics of the specific challenges associated with that business and that industry. This type of information, which is not necessarily associated with a specific loan file, can be readily stored on a computer database easily accessible for the account manager. All that is needed is a notation in the loan file regarding access to the industry information database. While possibly least important, it was also found that the account manager needs to be easy to get in touch with as well as approachable. These findings would suggest that account managers provide each client with all possible means of contact and indicate a willingness to discuss business with the SME. The activity ‘follows-up requests’, is very much related to being approachable and easy to get in touch with, and indicates the importance for the account manager in getting back to the SME client in a timely fashion following a contact or a request by the client. Clients value account managers with the authority and ability to make timely decisions. Furthermore, the importance of reacting to problems faced by the SME and being resourceful in finding solutions to problems indicates that account management would be improved if account managers acknowledge and show some understanding of the problems faced by their SME clients. These are potentially difficult areas for banks in particular, because banks are not in the business of making high-risk loans. Therefore, there may be situations where account managers may have to engage in actions harmful to the clients business in order to protect the bank's assets. Lastly, SME clients appreciate account managers who treat them as valuable customers. Expressions of the value of the customer and his or her business appear to go a long way toward creating high client satisfaction. Training programs could include ways to perform these activities as well as stress the importance of their performance in the management of relationships. This research was performed in the context of supplier financial institutions and SME clients. It is likely that findings may be generalized to other sectors and supplier SME relationships, but further research is required in these different industry relationships to confirm their applicability in other sectors.