آیا مدیران حساب کاربری کلیدی بر روی عملکرد تجاری بیش از حد تمرکز می کنند؟بکارگیری نقشه برداری شناختی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21546||2013||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 66, Issue 9, September 2013, Pages 1559–1567
Key account management programs have priority in the banking sector, conditioned by the drive to achieve competitive advantage while securing customer loyalty. Employees must manage these programs with demonstrated relationship- and ethics‐based attributes, and devote themselves fully to customers of strategic importance. By studying the thoughts of these key account managers, this research seeks to gain an enhanced understanding of how key account management programs operate in the banking sector and where account managers' focus lies. The cognitive mapping technique used makes possible the capture of key account managers' thinking and allows the representation of their ideas in the form of a network of concepts. Data answers to spontaneous, open-ended questions and recording the output in systematic exploration grids. Findings conform worries of managers that key account management focuses mainly on behavioral performance, followed by in-role, extra-role and results-based performance at the cost of return on investment objectives.
The intangible nature of a service obligates the customer to base his or her decision on various aspects linked to the service offer such as personal contact and/or physical environment (Ivens, 2004; Nguyen & Leblanc, 2002). In the context of service marketing, relationship behavior plays a dominant role and management of the latter appears to have a decisive impact on the success of the organization providing the service or services. The service environment thus requires management tools that differ from those used in traditional goods marketing situations. This phenomenon explains why the philosophy of relationship marketing contributes so handsomely to the expansion of customer relationship management in the service sector, more particularly in the banking sector, with a view to creating value (Berry, 2002). However, in addition to being complex, the adoption of a relationship‐based approach supposes added investment in time, human resources, training and money, which explains why financial institutions do their utmost upstream to ensure profitability and return on investment. Indeed, from a purely financial standpoint, a bank cannot allow itself to treat all customers in accordance with a relationship-based approach. In addition, given perceptions respecting the types of more or less complex services considered, sensitivity to transfer costs and individual customer personalities, some customers tend to adopt more transaction-based behavior and are not necessarily willing to commit to a long-term relationship (Perrien and Ricard, 1994). Hence, since the early 1990s, many banks have instituted key account management (KAM) programs based on a pre-selection of customers deemed of strategic importance, the object being to offer these customers specific, more personalized treatment and services and, more importantly, to develop a performance-oriented customer relationship management strategy while increasing sales (Brehmer and Rehme, 2009, Dussart and Nantel, 2007 and Hughes et al., 2005). A KAM program is the “introduction by a provider of a relationship-based approach through the use of specific relationship or organizational resources” (Ivens and Pardo, 2004, p. 5). Indeed, the “KAM is a way of having one single salesperson, or a sales team, responsible for a major account” (Brehmer and Rehme, 2009, p. 963). In a KAM program, contact personnel play a major role. They manage the customer relationship and determine the probability of ongoing exchange between the parties into the future. They deliver the promises made by the company, create an image and sell company services. They impact the creation and maintenance of a relationship of trust between the company and the customer. During a service meeting, salespersons exercise the greatest impact over the customer while showcasing the service organization's performance (Durif et al., 2007 and Zupancic, 2008). Accordingly, the manner in which contact personnel are trained, managed and compensated has a decisive impact on the success of a given KAM program. Although KAM programs enjoy widespread popularity, few academic and managerial studies have chosen to focus on them, especially KAM programs in the financial services sector, and none have considered the role played by contact personnel in this type of program (Hughes, Foss, Stone, & Cheverton, 2005; Ivens & Pardo, 2007). This research seeks to gain an enhanced understanding of how KAM programs function in the banking sector by studying the role of contact personnel. Cognitive mapping is a helpful management tool little employed in marketing that will help to attain this end. This technique makes possible the capture of manager thinking and mindset on specific subjects, in schematic form that, in turn, allows for the representation of ideas in the form of a network of concepts (Cossette, 2004). This paper first explains the reasons why the relationship-based approach is of strategic importance in the financial services sector. Second, this article presents the specifics of KAM programs. Third, with the aid of cognitive mapping applied to the financial services sector, the authors analyze KAM implementation. Lastly, findings provide managerial advice designed to assist banks in implementing KAM programs, which perform from both the economic and social standpoints. 1.1. Relationship marketing, a strategic imperative in banking services management Today, given ever-increasing market competitiveness, financial institutions may still enjoy the luxury of being able to win over new customers, but fewer and fewer can afford to shed customers (Berry, 2002). A relationship marketing approach based on ongoing personal relations with customers therefore appears particularly well suited to a sector characterized by a high level of risk and long term purchases, with respect to which the relationship factor is central to service delivery. Indeed, compared to other industries, the financial services sector is well poised to reap the benefits of a relationship-based approach, given that a significant share of customers seek to establish relations with their account manager, who serves as the direct link between the customer and the service (Barnes & Howlett, 1998). In fact, service satisfaction derives largely from the relationship-based interaction between the contact or frontline employee and the customer (Berry & Parasuraman, 1993). However, the appeal of the relationship-based approach owes much to the anticipated benefits for both financial institutions and customers (Table 1).The characteristics specific to the services offered nonetheless entail a higher level of perceived risk for the customer than for more tangible products. A recent survey conducted by Option Consommateurs speaks volumes about the variability and quality of services offered by financial advisors in Québec, Canada. According to their study, whether in relation to customer knowledge (e.g., collection of information pertaining to the customer's finances and family situation, risk tolerance) or the formulation of clear, comprehensive and appropriate recommendations, only 8 advisors out of 39 (about 20%) of those employed with financial institutions, investment companies and insurance companies performed faultlessly. In conclusion, the survey points to consistently poor customer service and rampant incompetence owing to flawed data collection techniques, erroneous information and obscure, inappropriate recommendations. For example, many omit to query customers about their debt load or provide incorrect information. As a consequence, contact personnel have a crucial role to play in reducing the perceived level of risk in the financial services sector. The account manager is the direct link between the customer and the service. The customer views the account manager as responsible for the poor quality of services rendered, which reflects in equal measure on the financial institution that he or she represents. The customer is the one who, by word of mouth, spreads positive or negative information about his or her account manager to potential customers. It goes without saying that when negative in substance, this information can have damaging consequences on the performance of the financial institution (Palmatier, Dant, Grewal, & Evans, 2007). 1.2. KAM in the banking sector; a selective relationship-based approach KAM programs assume that each organization's customer portfolio comprises of a number of key customers. The company considers these established customers as key accounts because they possess certain strategic characteristics. For example, they may be ripe with sales opportunities (Brehmer & Rehme, 2009), and thus deserving of preferential or special treatment (Piercy & Lane, 2006). In the case of corporate customers, selection criteria include business volume, technological advance, international presence, industry reputation, and so on. For individual customers, criteria include assets, property holdings, salary, profession and development potential. A KAM program can, in the proper sense, be considered as one of the means by which a service provider introduces a relationship-based approach into a marketing strategy; the object being to reach out to certain customers by treating them in a more individualized manner. For many organizations, KAM programs extend beyond the confines of simple sales strategy and tend rather towards veritable partnerships with major accounts. This type of relationship-based program nonetheless seeks mainly to fulfill profitability objectives and to create value for companies (Hughes et al., 2005). In the case of the financial services sector, this approach has become a priority conditioned by the drive to achieve competitive advantage and to satisfy complex financial needs, while securing customer loyalty. The difficulty, in the case of the financial services sector, in gaining competitive advantage lies in the fact that despite the high number of products and services launched each year, these are easily replicated by the competition (Grönroos, 2004; Perrien & Ricard, 1994). Astute recommendations by account managers can therefore make all the difference in terms of customer perception of service quality. Similarly, the complexity of financial needs expressed by customers requires an in-depth knowledge of these needs to be able to meet attendant customer expectations. Contact personnel must therefore be fully and properly trained. Since these factors together help build a climate of trust between customers and account managers, the outcome can take the form of enhanced loyalty by customers of strategic importance and increased profitability for the financial institution (Ivens & Pardo, 2004). The central element of any bank's KAM program thus remains close proximity between the account manager who represents the organization – often a key account manager – and the customer. This manager circulates information internally about customer service experiences, acts as an external representative of the organization and intervenes directly with customers, including those who become veritable co-producers of the service (Ferguson, Paulin, & Bergeron, 2005). The KAM contributes first and foremost to service excellence by delivering the services based on the promises made by the bank, by creating a favorable image for the bank, by extending themselves to satisfy certain customers, by promoting the bank's products and services and lastly, by providing better service than the competition (Bettencourt & Brown, 1997). The successful implementation of KAM programs in financial institutions depends essentially on the strategic choice of qualified key account managers with superior relationship skills. Bank officials must also clearly define the role and boundaries of the key account manager by identifying what his or her role does or does not entail, and what is acceptable in terms of behavior based on generally accepted standards and rules of conduct. For Piercy and Lane (2006), a dilemma stems from the manager's role being divided among the information shared across organizational ranks, the level of trust respecting fellow colleagues, the principle of honoring the promises made to the customer, and the hidden incentives conducive to non-ethical, illicit behavior implicit in the key account management model. This factor is also evidenced in the work of Durif and Perrien (2008) on account manager role integrity where the authors demonstrate the extremely complex and multidimensional role of the account manager. The financial institution, with input from the board of directors, begins by establishing the account manager's mandate and accountability particulars. Next, the institution takes action as required to ensure a high level of relationship efficiency between the account manager and internal support personnel, the aim being to achieve maximum performance with respect to customer expectations. These notions justify the research-based interest in focusing on key account manager thinking and mindset in the financial services sector.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
At present, key account managers in financial institutions appear to have a performance-based strategic vision. However, given the ethical risks linked to the nature of KAM, banks would be well advised to standardize ethics in the strategic processes of the relationship-based approach with a view to instituting ethical, responsible KAM. This study focuses on the case of a specific key customer account manager, and demonstrates the need to make allowance for the ethical aspects of strategic account management; financial institutions appear to have no generalized culture of ethics in place at this level. It is nonetheless critical that KAM be based on a set of moral and ethical principles designed to operate as mechanisms for building trust and commitment between customers and key account managers (Gatfaoui, 2007), and ultimately relationship capital (Vézina & Messier, 2005). What Murphy, Laczniak and Wood (2007) refer to as the ethical bases of relationship marketing appears to be vital to the success of the relationship-based approach in banks in general and KAM in particular. Therefore, financial institutions must seek to render KAM programs profitable and rigorously select key customer account managers with demonstrated ethical and relationship-based attributes. Cognitive mapping can assist in identifying requisite attributes not only during the traditional recruiting process but also during key customer account manager proficiency training that is already in place within the ranks of many banking institutions. 6.1. Academic and managerial contributions Using the original cognitive mapping tool detailed here, KAM can be seen to exert a determining influence from both the academic and managerial points of view. Vital for organizations (Zupancic, 2008), KAM is one of the most significant marketing trends of the past several decades. This paper makes a number of relevant contributions. Firstly, results provide for an enhanced understanding of the specifics of KAM programs used by numerous service organizations, banks in particular. Secondly, the research contributes to the personal and professional development of managers in terms of relationship-based practices and ethical behavior. Thirdly, this study brings to light the ethical considerations that exercise an impact on the success of business relationships. Fourthly, the findings provide leads and advice designed to assist financial institutions in implementing performance-oriented KAM programs which are both economically and socially viable. Lastly, this paper details the attributes of a managerial tool (i.e., cognitive mapping) suitable for use in recruiting and training key account managers, as well as identifying requisite KAM traits to ensure that these managers perform well both socially and financially in their role. 6.2. Limits and future direction This study is not without certain limitations. Firstly, the article bases findings on a single case analysis involving a key account manager working in the banking sector. Replicating this study with a number of key account managers would be interesting and make possible a comparison of their cognitive maps. Secondly, the research focuses solely on the seller. Inclusion of the buyer side of the exchange would doubtless prove of interest.