Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to suggest an integrated framework for designing, implementing and evaluating a customer relationship marketing (CRM) system in service companies, based on a gap analysis. Design/methodology/approach – The paper summarizes key findings of previous research on CRM internal (organizational) success/failure factors, adds a customer perspective on CRM expectations and perceptions, and links these internal and external factors using a systemic gap approach. Findings – The paper finds that viewing a relationship as a value and as a quality driver should lead managers to consider expectations as a mean to design appropriate interaction flows with customers. Also, relationship expectations from customers' point of view could be used as a segmentation variable to identify customer relationship profiles and address them with specific means. Finally, the integrated perspective underlines the importance of coordination and coherence among all organizational, technological and human components of the CRM system for the effective relationship quality management. Thus, the suggested DIE CRM gap model can be used by managers as a relationship quality diagnosis and problem‐recovery tool leading to recommendations at each stage of their action plan. Research limitations/implications – The integration of customer‐related CRM success factors as well as the suggested gap measurement approach opens several research opportunities in both methodological and conceptual issues on assessing a CRM strategy. Practical implications – In the process of designing, implementing and evaluating a CRM strategy and system, managers should integrate customers' expectations and reactions to such strategy. The gap model provides a tool to identify critical points of successful CRM operations and suggests actions to deal with them. Originality/value – Customers' reactions to CRM strategies and actions have not been given appropriate attention, nor have they been linked to internal company's operations. Similarly, although the gap analysis approach was proved to be very useful in other settings, such as measuring service quality, no application of it to CRM has been suggested. The paper offers new insights in both of these fields.
Managing Service Quality – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 5, 2008
Keywords: Relationship marketing; Gap analysis; Customer relations; Customer services quality
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