This essays main focus is on the theme of multi-channel customer management. It will involve analytically criticising the article through use of key marketing concepts and theories. It will begin with a short summary of the main body of the article followed by a critical analysis of the article which will include the writing style, structure, methodology and relevance of findings. The essay will then close with a brief conclusion of the issues that have arisen.
The author of the article is Ali’s et al and the title of the article is “A conceptual Model for Multi-Channel Customer management”
The article is split into five sections the first of which is an introduction of what Global Customer Relationship Management is and what its goals are.
The second section of the article goes on to explain about cultural factors experienced in CRM and how this involves both macro factors and micro factors, it goes on to explain about factors that affect firms across national boundaries or cultures and that this particular article focus’s on the macro level of customer expectations, loyalty, profitability and customer value. (Ramaseshan et al, 2006)
Section 3 of the article focuses on the challenge and considerations of GCRM depending on the environment and these can be grouped into four areas; technological, economic and market, social and cultural and legal and regulatory. (Ramaseshan et al, 2006)
The article then goes on to the fourth section, the multi-channel customer management conceptual model, which is what the article is primarily about and is the main body of the text, this is split into four sub sections.
It opens with a brief summary of the research aim which involves national culture and its potential on how CRM is implemented and used in multinational organisations, this research is to be done using a structurational analysis and excludes any cultural archetypes. The research has a focus on contact management as part of CRM and involves both internal and external actors.
The first sub-section of this section is about CRM contact management where it identifies the relationship it has with customer channels and internal actors in an organisation it then goes on to say how multi-channel customer management has emerged due to a rapid and broad increase of channels and how it is used to indentify customer needs. (Neslin et al. 2006)
Sub section two of part four is about multi-channel customer management it identifies a definition multi-channel customer management and raises the importance of updating channels and how all channels need to be integrated in order to create a sustainable relationship with the customer base.
Also the importance of how different channels can serve different purposes to the same customer, identified in this section to show this is the customer channel map (Paul, et al, 2003).
Sub section three of part four indentifies different channels and explains that outlets, call centres and the internet will be the three examined in this article and defines how each channel works.
The last sub section of section four develops and explains the conceptual model which is going to be used, the model is focused on social influence and provides a framework for joining customers and organisations together in the decision process of which channel to use, it then goes on to explain this process in more depth it then explains how data is collected by organisations and how this is used to predict future usage of channels by customers. It ends by stating that both micro and macro factors can have an influence on people’s decisions and how social factors relate to this.
It concludes by summing up that a multi-channel customer management could be used to analyse influence of culture on customer behaviours and ends by saying more research will be done.
In terms of writing style in the article spelling and punctuation is virtually error free however an American style of spelling has been used rather than English e.g. words such as ‘Analyse’ and ‘Enquires’ have been spelt ‘Analyze’ and ‘Inquires’.
The writing style itself is a bit obscure and unclear the author seems to go off topic.
The theoretical Knowledge in the article is good.
In terms of structure the article includes headings and subheadings and the content is processed in a logical chronological sequence it also makes good uses of paragraphs to separate information. However there are times when points are made when it would be better to list them as bullet points to make it clearer.
There is little information about the conceptual model and too much depth into other aspects loosely related to it.
Business terms are well defined using a variety of resources which are correctly referenced using the Harvard style.
The overall format of the article is good and well spaced out.
Instead of researching the conceptual model on a macro scale it could also be research in depth in terms of micro factors as these also play a key part in multi-channel customer management.
A different research method that could be used is research it from a cultural perspective rather than through social influence this may come up with different findings.
Relevance of findings
The proposed conceptual model is theoretical accurate however it is quite a simple model and would be hard to be put into practice. This particular model would more apply to a smaller organisation rather than a global one. The model does however explain itself and can be followed easily it shows the relationship between cultural values and a consumers perceptions and preferences due to social norms across various channels. This would allow organisations to assess what channels a certain customer would use depending at what stage in the product life-cycle they were in.
I have learnt from the conceptual module outlined in this article that would help me as a marketer the importance of social influence when assessing multi-channel management and the integration between the various channels. If one channel drops in quality then the whole customer relationship changes for the worse over all the channels.
Overall the article does identify a key marketing issue and identifies a suitable conceptual model for multi-channel customer management which would be suitable to analysis a customer’s behaviour from a business point of view depending on their culture values and social constraints on them. However overall the article goes off topic at times and does not really come to a definitive conclusion.