Customer retention has been a significant topic since the mid‐1990s, but little research has been conducted into management processes that are associated with excellent customer retention performance. This research investigates the associations between customer retention outcomes and a number of management processes including customer retention planning, budgeting and accountability and the presence of a documented complaints‐handling process.
This is carried out using a quantitative survey of 170 companies in Australia. Participants represented all major standard industrial classification (SIC) codes.
It was found that excellence at customer retention is positively and significantly associated with the presence of documented complaints‐handling processes. None of the other variables is significantly associated with the dependent variable.
This research has limited generalisability to other regions and the self‐report nature of the data is not independently corroborated.
The research emphasises the importance of developing and implementing documented complaints‐handling processes. Future research should examine whether standardised processes such as those embodied in ISO 10002 are more effective than ad hoc processes.
The major contribution of this paper is the clear link that it establishes between customer retention performance and the presence of a documented complaints‐handling process.
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