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A review of customer relationship management: successes, advances, pitfalls and futures

Bang Nguyen (Oxford Brookes Business School, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK)
Dilip S. Mutum (Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 1 June 2012




The purpose of this paper is to provide academics and practitioners working with customer relationship management (CRM) with a review of key topics, such as advances in CRM, the shifting role of consumers, issues with conceptualisation and consumer exploitation. The authors further integrate concepts of fairness, trust and paradoxes of one‐to‐one marketing, which are little researched within customer management. As a result, the authors suggest eight propositions for improving the CRM scheme.


This paper reviews extant literatures in CRM, with a particular emphasis on the pitfalls of CRM.


The authors find that the risks of depleting customer trust as they perceive themselves being exploited by firm's CRM offerings should be openly discussed, as it poses a significant threat to the CRM scheme if it is overly used and misused.

Practical implications

It is proposed that the concept of dual value‐creation and win‐win relationships are fundamental to successful implementation. However, the danger of implementing CRM in such a way as to lead customers to believe that they are worse off requires more research. Managers must therefore define their CRM, understand their pitfalls and look at where their CRM is headed.

Social implications

Advances in CRM must consider issues of fairness, transparency, honesty, trust and with the emergence of social media, understand how CRM will adapt and immerse itself in such a future.


In total, eight propositions are made about CRM's successes, advances, pitfalls and futures. A focus is on the fairness of CRM and a new definition is offered.



Nguyen, B. and Mutum, D.S. (2012), "A review of customer relationship management: successes, advances, pitfalls and futures", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 400-419.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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