This paper seeks to concern itself with the implications for the management of customer relationships of pursuing a multi‐channel approach.
The case study method is used in analysing the situation of four organizations from the UK financial services industry. A conceptual framework covering structural, people and process elements is utilized to examine the challenges to be overcome in providing an integrated approach to customer management.
The addition of new channels alongside those already in existence opens up new areas of the organization to customer contact and creates significant challenges in relation to staff roles and existing processes for interacting with customers. Channel integration is a strategic issue potentially requiring structural changes to the organization and changes in the behaviour of customers.
This exploratory research suggests the need for studies in relationship marketing to take cross‐disciplinary approaches in investigating what organizational forms operate most effectively in multi‐channel environments. There is also a need to develop a better understanding of how different groups of customers use different channels and of how service quality dimensions operate in this environment.
Multi‐channel customer management adds another dimension to traditional methods of segmenting customers and requires sophisticated understanding of the way that customers use channels. The addition of new channels offers a range of opportunities for interacting directly with the customer, raising new questions about how best to manage customer communications holistically.
The paper contributes to one's understanding of the implications for organizations in managing customers in a multi‐channel environment.
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited