Customer relationship management has been defined as “a business approach that integrates people, processes, and technology to maximise relationships with customers” Goldenberg (2008, p.3). Moreover, it has been stated that customer relationship management “characterises a management philosophy that is a complete orientation of the company toward existing and potential customer relationships” (Raab et al, 2008, p.6)
Mueller (2010) characterises customer relationship management aspect of the business as a highly dynamic, and convincingly argues that businesses have to adopt a proactive approach in devising relevant programs and initiatives in order to remain competitive in their industries.
Sinkovics and Ghauri (2009) relate the necessity for engaging in customer relationship management to high cost of direct sales, highly intensifying level of competition in the global level, and need for information about various aspects of the business in general, and consumer behaviour in particular, that can be used to increase the levels of sales.
According to Peppers and Rogers (2011), there is global tendency in customer relationship management that relates to the shift from transactional model towards the relationship model. In other words, Peppers and Rogers (2011) argue that satisfying customer needs as a result of on-time transaction is not sufficient today in order to ensure the long-term growth of the businesses.
Instead, businesses have to strive to maintain long-term relationships with their customers in order to maintain flexibility to adopt their increasing expectations and thus achieving their life-long loyalty. Peppers and Rogers (2011) further stress that, businesses that refuses to acknowledge this tendency in the global marketplace would be risking their market share and growth prospects in the future.
One of the most critical sources for the research is the book “Relationship Marketing and Customer Relationship Management” authored by Brink and Berndt (2009). The book offers an in-depth discussion of the concept of Customer Touch Map and discusses the role of information technology in facilitating customer relationship management.
The work of Mathur (2010) represents another significant contribution to the research area to be used in the study. Namely, the author provides a wide range of specific customer relationship management techniques and principles that are used by multinational businesses. The findings of Mathur (2010) can be compared to the primary data findings in the proposed research, thus enhancing the scope of the study.
Khurana (2010), on the other hand, discusses the concept of customer relationship management in a great detail, and also addresses advantages and disadvantages associated with a range of relevant software applications. The third edition of Pradan’s (2009) “Retailing Management” is another noteworthy source that is going to be used in the study. Specifically, Pradan (2009) identifies customer relationship management as an emerging aspect of marketing in retail and discusses its importance for ensuring long-term growth for retail businesses.
A global approach towards the issues of customer relationship management is adopted by Raab et al (2008) in “Customer relationship management: a global perspective”. The value of this specific work to the proposed research can be explained in a way that it will allow the comparison of customer relationship management principles to the similar principles exercised by other multinational retailers in a global marketplace.
Bhatia’s (2008) work, “Retail Management” is also going to be used in the proposed study due to the significance of the contribution of the work to the research area. Bhatia (2008) offers in-depth discussions related to the use of loyalty cards by retailers, and this represents a comprehensive analysis of the issue in the secondary data.
Moreover, Cox’s (2011) “Retail Analytics: The Secret Weapon” deserves also to be mentioned in here thanks to the most modern and fresh perspective the author adopts in order to approach the research issues. The most valuable part of this specific article is that it provides highly practical recommendations to retailers of various sizes in terms of increasing the levels of revenues through adopting a range of customer relationship management principles.
A range of academic models and writings relate to this research in direct and indirect ways and some of the most relevant models are going to be explored in the study. One of the most models to be used in the study is The Gap Model of Service Quality. “A model of service quality called the gap model identifies five gaps that can cause problems in service delivery and influence customer evaluations of service quality” (Lamb et al, 2011, p.189).
These five gaps are a) the gap between customer wants and the management perceptions about customer wants; b) the gap between the management perceptions about customer wants and the specifications of service developed; c) the gap between the service specifications and the actual service provided; d) the gap between the quality of service promised and the quality of service provided, and e) the gap between expected service and perceived service on behalf of customer.
Another relevant model to be tested during the study constitutes Relationship Model of customer relationship management proposed by Peppers and Rogers (2011). Specifically, the model advocates adopting a pro-active approach in sustaining customer relationships and proposes a set of specific principles that would assist to accomplish this task.
Bhatia, S.C. (2008) “Retail Management” John Wiley & Sons
Brink, A. & Berndt, A. (2009) “Relationship Marketing and Customer Relationship Management” Juta Publications
Goldenberg, B.J. (2008) “CRM in Real Time: Empowering Customer Relationships” Information Today, Inc.
Cox, E. (2011) “Retail Analytics: The Secret Weapon” John Wiley & Sons
Khurana, M. (2010) “Information Technology for Retailing” Tata McGraw-Hill Education
Lamb, C.W., Hair, J.F. & McDaniel, C. (2011) “Marketing: Student Edition” Cengage Learning
Mathur, U.C. (2010) “Retail Management: Text and Cases” I.K. International Pvt Ltd
Mueller, B. (2010) “Dynamics of International Advertising: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives” Peter Lang
Peppers, D. & Rogers, M. (2011) “Managing Customer Relationships: A Strategic Framework” John Miley & Sons
Pradan, S. (2009) “Retailing Management: Text & Cases”, 3rd edition, Tata McGraw-Hill Education
Raab, G., Ajami, R.A., Gargeya V. & Goddard, G.J. (2008) “Customer relationship management: a global perspective” Gower Publishing
Sinkovics, R.R & Ghauri, P.N. (2009) “New Challenges to International Marketing” Emerald Group Publishing