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e‐CRM in SMEs: an exploratory study in Northern Ireland

e‐CRM in SMEs: an exploratory study in Northern Ireland Purpose – Relationship marketing principles have seldom been applied to the small‐ and medium‐sized enterprise (SME). The purpose of this paper is to develop what is a striking link by investigating the role of internet technologies in the customer relationship management of SMEs based in Northern Ireland (NI). Design/methodology/approach – This study took an exploratory outlook and a quantitative approach to data collection was adopted. A self‐completion questionnaire was distributed by post to a sample of 300 SMEs in NI. A response rate of 18.6 per cent was obtained. Findings – The findings of this study illustrate that SMEs are implementing fundamental electronic customer relationship management (e‐CRM) practices and reaping the benefits from internationalisation. Challenges are few, but centre on a preference for face‐to‐face relationships and a lack of government support. Research limitations/implications – It is hoped that this exploratory research has laid the foundation for further examination of e‐CRM in the SME context. Future studies should be able to replicate the process in other countries and on a larger scale. The potential also exists for in‐depth qualitative research. Practical implications – The paper concludes that e‐CRM may have to move on to a more strategic and integrated level if SMEs in NI are to compete, both locally and globally. Originality/value – This exploratory research has shed some light on the marginalised subject of e‐CRM in SMEs. For SMEs operating in a peripheral economy such as NI the benefits to be gained from e‐CRM are lucrative. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Marketing Intelligence & Planning Emerald Publishing

e‐CRM in SMEs: an exploratory study in Northern Ireland

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0263-4503
DOI
10.1108/02634500810879296
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Relationship marketing principles have seldom been applied to the small‐ and medium‐sized enterprise (SME). The purpose of this paper is to develop what is a striking link by investigating the role of internet technologies in the customer relationship management of SMEs based in Northern Ireland (NI). Design/methodology/approach – This study took an exploratory outlook and a quantitative approach to data collection was adopted. A self‐completion questionnaire was distributed by post to a sample of 300 SMEs in NI. A response rate of 18.6 per cent was obtained. Findings – The findings of this study illustrate that SMEs are implementing fundamental electronic customer relationship management (e‐CRM) practices and reaping the benefits from internationalisation. Challenges are few, but centre on a preference for face‐to‐face relationships and a lack of government support. Research limitations/implications – It is hoped that this exploratory research has laid the foundation for further examination of e‐CRM in the SME context. Future studies should be able to replicate the process in other countries and on a larger scale. The potential also exists for in‐depth qualitative research. Practical implications – The paper concludes that e‐CRM may have to move on to a more strategic and integrated level if SMEs in NI are to compete, both locally and globally. Originality/value – This exploratory research has shed some light on the marginalised subject of e‐CRM in SMEs. For SMEs operating in a peripheral economy such as NI the benefits to be gained from e‐CRM are lucrative.

Journal

Marketing Intelligence & PlanningEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 13, 2008

Keywords: Customer relations; Small to medium‐sized enterprises; Internet; Communication technologies; Northern Ireland

References