مدیریت ارتباط با مشتری: یافتن محرک های با ارزش
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|938||2008||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 37, Issue 2, April 2008, Pages 120–130
Despite significant interest from both academicians and practitioners, customer relationship management (CRM) remains a huge investment with little measured payback. Intuition suggests that increased management of customer relationships should improve business performance, but this intuition has only inconsistent empirical or real world support. To remedy this situation, this study identifies a core group of expected CRM benefits and examines their ability to increase a firm's value equity, brand equity and relationship equity which are components of customer equity. Ten propositions explore the anticipated effects of these drivers and form an agenda for future research. These propositions establish a framework for measuring CRM and supporting the link between CRM and performance.
1.1. Customer relationship management The integration of CRM and CE literature streams will build on the desire of marketers to effectively measure the benefits of their investments in CRM. Research in marketing has been focused on relationships and building partnerships for some time (Crosby et al., 1990, Dwyer et al., 1987 and Morgan and Hunt, 1994), but it was not until technology became available to support managers in building relationships that CRM became an important part of this research (Chen & Popovich, 2003). Consistent with the overall desire to manage relationships, CRM is generally defined as the “management of mutually beneficial relationship(s) from the seller's perspective” (LaPlaca, 2004, p. 463). However, when a more specific definition is required, as it is in the case of measurement, scholars and practitioners alike have found CRM to be difficult to define and measure. An exploration of some of the more common definitions of CRM will illuminate the ways that these multiple definitions have slowed progress in measuring CRM investments. To simplify the discussion, current definitions will be classified into one of two categories: strategic or operational. This bifurcation of definitions is similar to that of Leigh and Tanner (2004) who suggest that CRM is either analytical or operational. For the purpose of this research, we are making a distinction between strategic and operational definitions.2 First, CRM is often defined as a form of relationship strategy. Considered from a top-management perspective, The Sales Educators (2006, p. 93) define strategic CRM as “the process that identifies customers, creates customer knowledge, builds customer relationships, and shapes customers' perceptions of the firm and its products/solutions”. Determining how a firm will relate to its customers via channels, messages, products and services is also thought of as strategic CRM. “A comprehensive strategy and process of acquiring, retaining, and partnering with selective customers to create superior value for the company and the customer” is one strategic definition offered by Parvatiyar and Sheth (2001, p. 5) However, Parvatiyar and Sheth continue by explaining that CRM involves the integration of marketing, sales, customer service, and the supply-chain functions of the organization to achieve greater efficiencies and effectiveness in delivering value. This extension to the definition is similar to the way that The Sales Educators define a more process-oriented view of CRM later in their book. These dualistic definitions indicate that strategic definitions and operational definitions may be closely related. This relationship is further born out in a practitioner's definition: CRM aligns business processes with customer strategies to build customer loyalty and increase profits over time (Rigby, Reichheld, & Schefter, 2002). The second category of CRM definition is more process oriented and less strategic than the first. These non-strategic definitions, or operational definitions, are more closely related to the processes and technologies associated with enabling better customer relationships. Bain and Company executives have offered this explanation in a recent Harvard Business Review article, “CRM allows companies to gather customer data swiftly, identify the most valuable customers over time, and increase customer loyalty by providing customized products and services” (Rigby et al., 2002, p. 101). To add to the confusion, some of the earlier process definitions were very narrow in scope relating CRM to database marketing by emphasizing the promotional aspects of marketing linked to database efforts (Bickert, 1992). Winer (2001) builds on this notion that CRM is ill defined. He states, CRM means different things to different people. For some, CRM means direct e-mails. For others, it is mass customization or developing products that fit individual customer's needs. For IT consultants, CRM translates into complicated technical jargon related to terms such as OLAP (on-line analytical processing) and CICs (customer interaction centers) p. 91. More recently, Reinartz, Krafft, and Hoyer (2004) conceptualized CRM at the customer-facing level. Based on their view that CRM is process related, they also posit that there are three customer relationship stages: initiation, maintenance, and termination that impact the CRM process. Following this they define CRM as, “A systematic process to manage customer relationship initiation, maintenance, and termination across all customer contact points in order to maximize the value of the relationship portfolio” (p. 294). The bottom line from all of these definitions is that academicians have yet to land on a definition that fully supports the complexity of CRM while maintaining a level of parsimony required for its measurement. Parvatiyar and Sheth (2001) called out the need for a CRM definition that articulates CRM's unique characteristics for example: one-on-one relationships, interactive processes not transactions, value-added activity through mutual interdependence, and collaboration between suppliers and customers. It is to this end that we provide the following definition. For the purpose of this research, CRM will be defined as a set of business activities supported by both technology and processes that is directed by strategy and is designed to improve business performance in an area of customer management. This definition is consistent with our desire to shape the decision to invest in CRM in terms of a return on investment. To be specific, CRM will not be conceptualized as a strategy, but rather as a means to achieve desired strategic goals. CRM, therefore, is not an overarching business salvo, but it is an enabler to help companies achieve improved customer relationships. This is consistent with broader marketing and business strategy frameworks. The constituency-based theory of the firm suggests that in effective corporate decision making, strategic goals are set and internal groups compete for resources to achieve the desired goals (Anderson, 1982). Measuring the output of investments in CRM will, in effect, measure the strategy that drives the need to invest in CRM process and technology. Thus, by choosing to operationalize the definition in this way and by measuring the output of CRM projects this provides a more complete picture of overall CRM performance. Our approach differs from recent attempts to measure CRM in that it relates CRM investments specifically to customer equity (CE) and CE provides a common basis upon which to measure different customer-impacting initiatives. Reinartz et al. (2004) summarize recent measurement attempts that relate satisfaction from CRM initiatives to a variety of business performance outcomes. These studies link satisfaction to business performance (Kamakura, Mittal, de Rosa, & Mazzon, 2002); customer loyalty to profitability (Reinartz & Kumar, 2000); customer profitability heterogeneity (Niraj, Gupta & Narasimhan, 2001); and affective commitment, satisfaction, and payment equity to customer retention and customer share development (Verhoef, 2003). Additionally, Reinartz et al. (2004) measured both perceptual (subjective) and objective performance of CRM across four industries and three countries to establish a link between CRM and business performance. They found some support for their conceptualization of CRM as having three distinct customer relationship-related stages: initiation, maintenance, and termination. However, they found mixed support for CRM's impact on perceptual performance and even less support for objective performance across the three stages. In the initiation and maintenance stages, some support was found for CRM's impact on performance, but little support was found for CRM's impact on the termination stage. These first two stages, initiation and maintenance, will be used in the building of propositions to aid in better understanding the effectiveness of CRM investments. In spite of the difficulties, CRM remains an emerging field of inquiry. Given our definition and the market's demand for better management of customers, we next turn our attention to CE as a potential measure of CRM outcomes. 1.2. Customer equity The need to effectively measure CRM leads us to the second stream of literature. Customer equity (CE) is concerned with identifying the value of a customer to the selling firm. Measuring CE provides an indication that margin is generated above and beyond both the product costs and the costs to sell those products to a group of customers. This type of measure is particularly useful because it focuses on two important concerns of today's marketers: customer relationships and financial accountability. In the calculation process for CE, individual customer lifetime values (CLV) are determined for each customer and ultimately CE is related to a return on marketing measure. Customer lifetime value is defined as the net present value of a single customer's value and CE is defined as the discounted sum of each customer's CLV less any on-going investments required to maintain customer relationships. Rust, Lemon, and Zeithaml (2004) present a model that relates marketing investments to drivers of CLV, CE, and ultimately return on marketing investments. Their model is consistent with previous CLV measurement attempts (Berger and Nasr, 1998, Blattberg and Deighton, 1996, Blattberg et al., 2001, Bolton et al., 2004 and Reinartz and Kumar, 2000) and previous attempts to relate marketing investments to ROI (Heskett et al., 1994, Kamakura et al., 2002 and Rust et al., 1994). In addition to the somewhat formulaic definition above, there are three sub-components of CE that explicate the formation of CE. Following the earlier work by Rust, Zeithaml, and Lemon (2000), three types of equity have been described as antecedents to customer equity: value equity, brand equity, and relationship equity. Value equity is the customer's appraisal of the brand based on its utility. Customers evaluate what is given up and what is received to determine this aspect of equity (Zeithaml, 1988). Managers have three levers that impact value equity — the customer's perceptions of quality, price, and convenience. This type of equity is fundamental to establishing long-term relationships. Without the perception that the customers are getting more than they are paying for, there will be little motivation for the customers to make repeat purchases. Brand equity is a more subjective appraisal of the brand and is more concerned with image and meaning than the rational evaluation of price, quality and convenience (Lemon et al., 2001 and Rust et al., 2000). In some contexts the definitions of value equity and brand equity are combined to form a more broad definition of brand equity. However, for the purpose of understanding specific antecedents to CE, it is beneficial to consider a more narrow definition thereby highlighting their individual impacts on CE. Brand equity is driven by brand awareness, attitude toward the brand and corporate ethics. Each of these elements serves to enhance the customer's perception of the brand and increase attraction and retention rates. Finally, relationship equity involves the special relationship elements that link the customer to the brand and serve to cement the relationship above and beyond value and brand equity. Relationship equity represents the impact on the customer from the company's attempts to build relationships and operate retention programs (Lemon et al., 2001 and Rust et al., 2000). A customer's evaluation of loyalty programs (e.g., frequent flyer programs), affinity programs, community-building programs, and knowledge-building efforts (e.g., personal selling relationships) is captured to measure relationship equity. The three drivers of CE: value, brand, and relationship equity, will be used to classify measurable CRM outputs and to carry the benefits of CRM through to CE. Given our focus of measuring CRM in a manner that supports management decision making, choosing to measure CRM investments as changes in CE is a logical choice. First, similar to CRM, customer acquisition and retention rates are important to understanding CE (Blattberg & Deighton, 1996). At some level, most CRM initiatives are focused on either attracting and/or retaining customers. Second, CE captures both revenues and costs associated with marketing actions. This is particularly important when attempting to justify expenditures across a broad range of marketing activities as is the case with CRM. Investments in CRM technology and processes, we argue, should be made to support strategic marketing initiatives that may range from product development enhancements to customizing marketing messages and therefore require a measurement tool that can capture a wide range of activities. Third, inputs to CE calculations may be readily obtained in most CRM systems (Rust et al., 2004). While estimates will be required, available cost analyses and customer data can be used to develop good estimates of CE inputs. Fourth, CE measures are more financially rigorous and more suitable for investment decision making than are intermediate marketing measures such as market share and profitability (Srivastava, Shervani, & Fahey, 1998). Fifth, CE and CRM share a common goal of understanding customers and realizing greater value from customers over a long-term relationship. Both constructs are concerned with understanding how customers are profitable over their lifetime with the firm. This provides strong theoretical support for the marriage of CE and CRM in this model.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
It is our hope that as this outline for future research is pursued, the field will draw nearer to understanding the impact of investments in CRM capabilities. Several research considerations should be noted as scholars begin to pursue this stream of research. It is clear from the nature of this research that the cooperation of both the academic and business communities is required to test these propositions. First, additional qualitative research related to the core value drivers will be necessary as measurements are developed for empirical analysis. Given the nature of collecting data from specific companies and industries, the measurement of the theoretical constructs involved in the model will have to be modified to accommodate the particular language of the sample industry. Second, data required to test these propositions will come from company records and surveys of both buyers and sellers. Even with improved CRM technology in place, it remains a challenge to collect these types of data because parties from multiple companies must cooperate in the research process. Third, to determine profitability, consideration must be given to the costs and benefits of these CRM initiatives which will require the cooperation of multiple functions within each company. These issues can all be addressed, but each will provide unique challenges to scholars as they pursue the measurement of CRM. Beyond the coordination of academicians and practitioners, additional work will need to be done to turn these propositions into testable hypotheses. In particular this effort will require a search for moderating conditions that may impact the proposed relationships. For example, we note training and support have been found to moderate proposition three as it relates to CRM technology impacting salesperson performance (Ahearne et al., 2005). Training as a moderator may also impact customer service people as well. In addition, a customer's value emphasis, the extent to which quality, price and convenience are prioritized by the customer, may also moderate propositions impacting value equity. It is clear that each proposition will need to be carefully examined as specific hypotheses are tested. Additionally, items may need to be developed to fully support the measurement of customer equity and its three components: value, brand and relationship equity. We anticipate that this framework will provide fertile ground for future research.