Research Projects 2015
The results of our research projects in 2015 will become publicly available during the second half of 2016. The topics chosen are outlined below:-
- Customer and Employee Effort Measurement
This report will summarise our Customer effort research to date and extend the ongoing Employee Engagement study into the area of Employee Effort.
- What is the value of using social media in a B2B context
This report will look into the following areas:
- How can companies add value for B2B customers through social media
- How do B2B customers want companies to engage with them on social media in a service recovery context?
- How can companies get the right balance between being transparent without damaging the brand?
- Service Recovery Strategy
This report will respond to the issues raised by members in the areas of:-
- Complaint Handling
- Service Recovery
Research Projects 2014
The results of our research projects in 2014 have now been made available where complete. The research topics chosen are outlined below:-
- Customer and Employee Effort Measurement
This report will be finalised in 2015 and will summarise our Customer effort research.
- The B2B Customer Experience: What are the most important factors for SME customers
This project extends the B2B research conducted in 2013 and seeks to discover what factors are most important for organisations dealing with SME customers.
Research Projects 2013
The topics researched in 2013 are outlined below:-
- Employee Engagement
Most companies, nowadays, have embraced the idea that businesses must focus on their customers. However, the question remains as to what practices need to be in place in order to build a customer-oriented organisation. The aim of our research in 2013, therefore, was to begin to examine such questions as:
This paper gives a progress report on this research which will continue to be explored in 2014.
- What are the requisite organisational policies, practices, and procedures in the creation and delivery of superior customer experience?
- How do these policies, practices, and procedures support service delivery? Do they contribute to employees’ engagement with work and with the organisation? Do they contribute to employees’ job satisfaction, turnover, and performance?
- Do these policies, practices, and procedures contribute to the performance of the organisation?
- Measuring B2B Customer Satisfaction and Customer Effort
This paper reviewed the available literature and previous research and then goes on to present the results from a series of exploratory interviews with a representative range of B2B companies and, where possible, some of their customers.
- The Changing Nature of Segmentation
This paper presents the findings from interviews with leading exponents of segmentation and also the insights from a recent study of marketing practitioners relating to their current imperatives and foci. More extensive views of some of these ‘leading lights’ have been sought and are included in order to showcase the latest developments and to help explain both the ongoing surge of segmentation and the issues under-pinning its practice.
Research Projects 2012
The topics researched in 2012 are outlined below:-
- Customer Effort
This project explores how companies can become easier to do business with by exploring and reducing the effort required for customers to interact with them.
- Social Media
This research project looked at three different aspects of social media and reports have been produced covering:
- The Use of Social Media in a B2B Context
- Influencing the Influencers
- Social Spending: Investing in Social Media Marketing
This research project conducted reviews of multi-channel best practice in both Europe and the USA. Two reports have been produced:
- Multichannel Integration - looking at US based best practice
- Multichannel In A Complex World - looking at European best practice
- Corporate Reputation and Inter-firm partnerships
This project looks at the issues involved in managing relationships and reputation in a global B2B environment.
Research Projects 2011
The topics researched in 2011 are outlined below:-
- Collaborative Innovation
This project explores how value can be created jointly for firms and their stakeholders through collaborative innovation and co-creation with these stakeholders.
This research project develops an initial view of the important factors to consider when looking at a homeworking project. It provides examples of successful homeworking initiatives and seeks to identify both positive and negative factors from the perspective of the agent and to highlight differences between the US and the UK markets.
- Social Segmentation
This research project assesses the impact of online social networks on traditional market segmentation strategies and emerging new segments and practices.
- Corporate Reputation and Inter-firm partnerships
This project extends earlier research and looks at Best Practise in handling eWord of Mouth feedback from customers.
Research Projects 2010
The research projects this year fell into a number of areas as outlined below. These are in order of popularity (defined by the number of related issues discussed at the first workshop)
- Developing a Social Media Strategy
This research project will take advantage of some survey work currently in process and build a model for developing a social media strategy.
- Implementing Strategic Partnerships
This research project will build on last year’s outsourcing management research and is intended to develop a toolkit of guidelines etc to assist organisations in implementing arrangements. Many of the lessons are relevant to other partnership approaches so will have wider implications beyond the pure outsourcing relationship.
This research project will explore generational differences in the use of self-service and explore some of the factors that impact on the delivery of a great customer experience.
We plan to revisit the research already reported on in the CSR report of 2008 and extend the research where appropriate to address the issues raised in the workshop.
Research Projects 2009
In 2009, our research programme included three major projects:-
- Using social media to enhance competitiveness - Understand how organizations are using online social media tools, such as wikis, twitter, linkedin, blogs, and social networking sites, to enhance competitiveness. This research project aimed to help organisations to understand the impact of such tools on their business and to explore the commercialisation of such tools to enhance business performance
- CRM for ‘B2G’ organizations - Some members felt that most marketing models, concepts and frameworks are developed with commercial organisations in mind. However, governmental organisations have very specific needs, processes (e.g., procurement) and gatekeepers that do not strictly fit the existing models. Consequently, managers working in a ‘B2G’ environment have to try and contextualise such models to their working reality, themselves. This research was instigated to identify and summarise B2G- specific models and to assess how existing models have been adapted to the B2G reality
- Best Practice in Managing Relationships with Outsource Partners - The goal of this research was to deliver an up-to-date literature review and provide case studies of 2-3 best practice organisations looking at how organisations measure value, measure success and provide the ability to flex the contract to both sides advantage
- We continued to develop our research into the online customer experience
- We collaborated with IESE in Madrid, Spain and RIT in Rochester,USA in a project sponsored by Cisco to explore the impact of social media on collaborative innovation - Understand how organizations are using online social media tools, such as wikis, blogs, and social networking sites, to connect with individuals and companies outside of traditional organizational boundaries in order to solve problems and create knowledge faster.
Research Projects 2008
In 2008, our research programme included four research projects falling into three areas:
- Customer Experience and Corporate Social Responsibility - What are the linkages between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and CE? To what degree do CSR initiatives enhance a customer’s overall experience? How might CSR affect CE? If there is a positive relationship between CSR and CE, will customers actually pay more for the firm’s CSR efforts?
Amongst the different factors a customer considers, how important are CSR etc issues and are they becoming more important? Are they different by product or type of customer, wealth base? Can we improve customer experience through the use of Co-Creation policies?
This project delivered two reports:-
- Corporate Social Responsibility: Key Issues and Linkages with Customer Experience - This report reviews current literature and presents the case for CSR making a positive conmtribution to customer experience.
- Co-Creation and the Customer Experience presents a co-creation case study.
- Delivering CE through Intermediaries - How can a company create and maintain a positive customer experience (CE) in the presence of intermediaries / distribution partners?
This project delivered a review of the current literature and developed a framework and a set of questions to facilitate suppliers and intermediaries thinking through the various important issues that enable them to create a ‘positive customer experience’.
- Online CE and communities – This project extended the work commenced in 2007 and looks further into what makes a perfect on-line customer experience. The next full report will be delivered in 2009 but an interim report entitled “Web Quality and Research Update” was produced to discuss some of the 2008 findings.
Research Projects 2007
In 2007, our research programme included three major projects:-
- Online Customer Experience - Exploring perceptions of the perfect online customer experience through interviewing business-to-consumer and business-to-business customers about the nature of their perfect online customer experience.
- Beyond Customer service - This project looked at a number of contributory factors for organizations that want to develop their inbound call centre staff to help them to cross-sell, up-sell and retain customers. The report focuses on five areas: business drivers, customer insight process, measures & outcomes, conditions and plans for the future.
- Channel Migration – This project looked at best practice for encouraging customers to change their relationship from being a direct sales contact to using lower cost channels – the call centre or the internet. Interviews were conducted with organisations that have taken this approach in both the B2B and the B2C environment and the output used to develop best practice models.
Research Projects 2006
In 2006, the research topics fell into three areas:
- Customer Experience - A key research topic for 2006 focused on looking at the customer experience from the customer’s point of view, building on the research started in 2005. The key questions addressed by the research were:-
- How do B2B and B2C customers perceive the customer experience?
- What are the key ingredients/constructs for customer experience from a B2B and B2C perspective?
- Customer Insight – The research project focused on the subject of “Turning Insight into Action” and considered the following:-
- What types of customer insight are companies generating?
- Which companies are actioning customer insight effectively and particularly at the front line?
- What organizational and/or environmental context is enabling them to do this?
- Culture and climate - Assessing an organisation’s climate considers the practices, procedures and rewards systems in an organisation, or in other words, “the way we do things around here”. The 2006 research built on prior years results and a number of organisations were assessed. The results were compared to exemplar best practice companies so that areas for improvement were identified and a number of new techniques for analysis of the results were introduced.
Research Projects 2005
In 2005,the research topics fell into four areas:
- The Customer Experience - Managing the customer experience is becoming a major preoccupation for many organisations today. Recent research has shown that customers are becoming increasingly demanding and sophisticated. The increasing levels of marketing literate customers means that companies have to work harder to acquire, retain and develop long-term relationships with them. Of course the question is how can companies do this? The process starts with companies building more effective mechanisms to capture customer feedback and using this information to develop products and services and to understand how customers want to do business.
- Customisation Through Data - Data is increasingly seen by many organisations as their key to competitive advantage. Without the right kind of information about customers, companies are running blind. However, not all data necessarily creates value. The hypothesis is that certain classes of data are better proxies for customer needs and predict behaviour better than other data. If this is indeed the case, then we can better inform the design of Customer Management processes at two levels a) what we collect and analyse and b) what we deliver to the contact point to assist in the customisation process.
- Outsourcing theme - Outsourcing is also becoming a major topic of concern for both companies and customers alike and the decision of whether or not to outsource can have a major impact on a firms competitive standing.
Research Projects 2004
In 2004, the research topics fell into three clear areas within the overall context of ‘Maximising the Value of Customer Management Investment’:
- Culture Change - Organisational culture and climate is increasingly becoming a top boardroom agenda item. Companies are recognising that their staff can really add value to customer relationships and as a result are jealously guarding their cultures and their relationships with their staff.
- Customers - Most managers would agree with the view that customers have become more demanding and sophisticated in recent years. Customers often have quite precise expectations of the products, services and relationships they are seeking and have become bolder in making their requirements known.
- Data - The lifeblood of any organisation is the information it keeps and generates about its customers, and the test of organisational longevity is how it then uses this data to inform the strategy making process. Unfortunately, all too often this data is either not available or is stored in many different locations/channels in the organisation. As a result companies frequently do not have ‘one view of the customer’. Having one view across multiple channels is essential to Customer Management success. It enables companies to look at all the customer touch points and to see how the relationship is developing in total and over time.
Research Projects 2003
In 2003, the focus was on answering member’s questions in the areas of:
- CRM justification. To understand the complex mix of tangible and intangible factors that the most senior executives consider when approving CRM investment.
- CRM organisation. To understand how companies manage the complex cross- functional teams that are often needed for CRM implementation.
- CRM analytics. To develop a more effective approach to CRM analytics by combining statistical analytics with current best practice in market segmentation.
Research Projects 2002
The first task of the forum was to develop a working definition of CRM as follows:-
Customer Relationship Management is the management process that uses individual customer data to enable a tailored and mutually trusting, valuable proposition. In all but the smallest of organisations, CRM is characterised by the IT enabled integration of customer data from multiple sources.
In 2002, the forum completed a highly successful research programme centred on studies of CRM within sponsoring and exemplar organisations to answer the following questions:
- Is CRM valuable to my organisation?
- What form should my CRM process take?
- How should I prepare my organisation for CRM?
- How should I implement CRM?
The end result for members was a list of tools and pragmatic answers for their most pressing questions. Outputs for the first year of the research included:
- The CRM Eco-system. How to know if CRM is right for your company.
- The 5 sub-species of CRM. Which CRM process is appropriate to your company?
- The CRM Space. How to identify and create the pre-requisites of CRM success in your company.
- The CRM Implementation Manual. A systematic approach to auditing, designing and implementing CRM processes for your company.