عوامل سازمانی بهبود بهره برداری از دانش مشتری در مدیریت روابط حساب های کلیدی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21519||2010||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7526 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 39, Issue 8, November 2010, Pages 1395–1402
Customer knowledge has become an important topic for both academicians and practitioners in recent years. However, there has been little academic research on the utilization of customer-specific knowledge. This study adds to our understanding in focusing on the relationships between various intra-organizational factors and customer knowledge utilization in the context of key account management. The results of the study show, that the use of teams, top management involvement, KAM formalization and CRM technology enhance the utilization of customer knowledge in the management of large industrial key account customers.
Several researchers argue that the ability of the firm to utilize customer-specific knowledge should be recognized as a potential source of competitive advantage (e.g., Campbell, 2003, García-Murillo & Annabi, 2002 and Zahay, 2008). At the same time however, it has been found that, in general, firms tend to be better at acquiring customer knowledge than at utilizing it (e.g., Campbell, 2003). The studies carried out by Davenport et al., 2001 and Salomann et al., 2005 reported that most firms were still lacking systematic processes for managing and utilizing customer knowledge. According to Davenport et al. (2001), this knowledge tends to be fragmented across multiple systems and locations, and firms find it difficult to integrate it into consistent customer profiles. It appears, therefore, that utilization of customer knowledge is a ‘stumbling block’ for several firms. Despite the widespread adoption of CRM systems and other information platforms, previous studies indicate that firms seem to lack the capability to channel the knowledge and to design customer-specific strategies, sales processes, and changes in products and services (e.g., Rigby, Reicheld, & Schefter, 2002). The utilization of customer-specific knowledge is especially important in the management of strategically influential key account customers (e.g., Abratt & Kelly, 2002, Arnold et al., 2001, Birkinshaw et al., 2001, Nätti et al., 2006 and Shi et al., 2005). Key accounts are powerful and extensive, and expect coordinated service and special treatment from their suppliers (Homburg, Workman, & Jensen, 2002). Key account relationships typically involve multiple contact points between the supplier and the account, and thus even a single relationship with a key account may constitute a complex web (Birkinshaw et al., 2001) — easily leading to the dispersion of customer knowledge inside the supplier firm. Such fragmentation may lead to multiple selling efforts and contradictory service offerings, for example, thus making activities at the customer frontline seem fragmented from the customer's view (e.g., Cespedes, 1992 and Nätti & Ojasalo, 2006). Yet, firms should be able to maintain a coherent view of the account, and should know who is doing what with it on the organizational level in order to manage the relationship efficiently. Although customer knowledge management has become a topic of growing interest in the literature during the last ten years (e.g., Campbell, 2003, García-Murillo & Annabi, 2002, Gebert et al., 2003, Gibbert et al., 2002 and Salomann et al., 2005), it is not yet understood how firms utilize customer-specific knowledge, and in particular what intra-organizational factors promote its utilization. Moreover, the existing research on key account management (KAM) is primarily conceptual and descriptive in nature, and research on intra-organizational aspects of KAM in general remains limited (Gosselin & Bauwen, 2006, Piercy & Lane, 2006 and Workman et al., 2003). The contribution of this study therefore is two-fold. Firstly, the empirical examination increases our understanding of the intra-organizational factors that make some firms utilize customer knowledge more effectively than others in the management of their key account customers. Secondly, by highlighting customer knowledge utilization as a central activity in KAM, the study provides new insights into the determinants of effective KAM in the context of large industrial business-to-business firms. The paper is organized as follows. First we describe key account management as a context of the study, discuss the role of customer knowledge utilization in KAM, and develop the hypotheses for our conceptual model. The following section focuses on the characteristics of the data and the methodological aspects of the analyses. Finally, we present the results of our hierarchical regression analysis and discuss the core contributions of the paper, the managerial implications, the limitations and directions for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The findings of our study support prior assumptions regarding the importance of top management in key account management (e.g., McDonald et al., 2003, Napolitano, 1997 and Workman et al., 2003). In showing commitment to the program top management also communicates the importance of customer knowledge utilization as a basis for the strategic management of the key account relationship. Moreover, top management has an essential role in determining what knowledge is required in the decision-making. Its support also helps to prevent potential problems related to the organization-wide integration of customer-specific knowledge. In line with the results of previous studies (e.g., Arnett et al., 2005 and Nätti et al., 2006), our findings provide empirical support of the importance of team use in key account management. In general, key account teams have been found to improve the coordination of all activities involved in dealing with the account. The results of our study suggest that the use of teams not only facilitates the coordination and integration of customer knowledge across functional and (geographical) borders, it also enables its more effective utilization organization-wide. Contrary to our expectations we did not find any connection between customer relationship orientation and customer knowledge utilization. Thus, according to our results, customer relationship oriented values among employees do not necessarily lead to the active and systematic utilization of customer-specific knowledge. This means that, despite the high relational orientation, relationship-related decision making may be more ad-hoc or intuition-based than reliant on the systematic use of knowledge. Moreover, customer relationship orientation may well be positively related to the earlier phases of the processing, acquisition and sharing of customer knowledge within the organization, but the organization may lack the capabilities for utilizing it. We have also shown that despite the high incidence of unsuccessful CRM implementation, investment in CRM leads to the more efficient use of customer knowledge. One reason for this is that the systems enable large amounts of data to be stored, and the more data there is available, the more it is used (Halonen-Rollins, 2008). Thus, the availability of CRM technology is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for knowledge utilization. It appears from our study that KAM formalization is positively related to customer knowledge utilization. Although previous studies have reported that formalization decreases flexibility (e.g., Deshpandé & Zaltman, 1984), and a negative relationship between formalization and KAM effectiveness was found by Workman et al. (2003), our study indicates that it nevertheless provides a basis for customer-specific knowledge utilization. It signals the special status of KAM to the employees, and thus channels them to utilize customer-specific knowledge instead of knowledge about faceless markets. It should nevertheless be kept in mind that excessive formalization (such as placing restrictions on the type, amount and source of knowledge utilized) could decrease flexibility and thus hamper the creation of value for the customer. The main contribution of this study is two-fold. Firstly, although several KAM academicians have acknowledged the importance of customer knowledge, our extensive review of prior research revealed no empirically validated measures of customer-specific knowledge utilization. Responsiveness to customer knowledge is included in the market-orientation concept developed by Kohli and Jaworski (1990), but our approach is different and deeper in that we focus on the utilization of knowledge about and from specific customers, the key accounts. Thus, we propose that there is no organization-wide general way in which to respond to the needs of the customer. Instead, the way an organization responds to such needs and utilizes customer-specific knowledge depends on the strategic status of the customer. Secondly, previous research on KAM is mainly conceptual in nature, and quantitative empirical research focusing on its intra-organizational aspects remains sparse and recent. Thus, building partly on the pioneering work carried out by Workman et al. (2003), the study provides new knowledge about the organizational systems and processes that are required for utilizing key account-related knowledge in the most efficient way.