1 Making Customer Relationship Management Effective in Organisations Abstract This paper seeks to develop a better understanding of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) adoption by organisations and their employees. Specifically, it aims to investigate antecedents of CRM adoption as a multi-stage process (employees and organisational). Employing a mixed-method approach involving ten organisations across four differing sectors, a conceptual framework was suggested and then tested. Structural equation modelling was used to test the hypotheses on a sample of 301 practitioners in a developing country. The results reveal CRM adoption as a multi-stage process, with differing influences at each stage. Employees were found to appreciate the CRM benefits if their organisation developed clear objectives for CRM, strategically measured its performance, emphasised segmentation analysis and managed customer knowledge. Besides, organisational deployment of CRM strategies is influenced by the development of clear objectives for CRM and the ability to manage project changes effectively. Keywords: CRM; Adoption Process; Segmentation; Strategy; Customer Knowledge; Project Management.
2 Introduction Driven by the rise of social networks, mobile computing and other data warehouse technologies, as well as a greater general awareness of the importance of managing customer relationships, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is continuing to be a significant tool for managing interactions with customers in long-term relationships (Gummesson and Grönroos, 2012). At 13.7% adjusted growth rate for 2013, CRM was the top software revenue growth market for all enterprise software markets (Gartner, 2013). And yet, early approaches viewing CRM as another technology have not generated ROI (Forrester, 2014). In fact, given that CRM by necessity is integral to a business s system, the effective introduction of CRM poses a considerable challenge to businesses which are not yet ready to adapt their organisational behaviour to the system (Forrester, 2009; Merkle Group, 2013). Indeed, it is suggested by many practitioners and researchers that it is this organisational inability to adapt their behaviour which leads CRM to fail to fulfil many businesses expectations (Boulding et al., 2005; Forrester, 2014). Prior research has either developed a broad interpretation of CRM adoption at an organisational level (e.g. Alshawi et al., 2011), or a narrow view of CRM focusing primarily on individual/employee behaviour (e.g. Wu and Wu, 2005). While there is a need for a holistic understanding of the CRM adoption process at both levels, research integrating both levels of CRM adoption is scant. In a rare study integrating both levels of CRM adoption, Ko et al. (2008) adapted Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT) to conceptualise the CRM adoption process as a two-stage model: perception and implementation. The IDT model, comprehensively developed by Rogers (1983, 1995), has been applied across various disciplines, such as anthropology, sociology, education, communication, marketing, management and geography (Rogers, 1995). It is one of the primary theories applied in technology innovation (Chen et al., 2000). However, to date, it has received minimal coverage amongst CRM adoption studies. Therefore, this study attempts to bridge this gap in the literature. Despite the efforts of Ko et al. (2008), their study is limited to the effects of organisational characteristics (i.e. organisational size, CEO age, etc.) on CRM adoption, ignoring some other important organisational factors, such as strategy. Building on insights gleaned from different views and domains, this paper attempts to examine the relationship of a wide variety of organisational factors with individual perception of CRM and subsequently CRM implementation across the organisation. Theoretical Background and Conceptual Framework The work of Rogers (1983) on IDT suggests that the decision to adopt a system into a company unfolds as a series of stages, flowing from knowledge of the existence of an innovation through to persuasion, decision, implementation and confirmation. In their rare attempt to understand, in a generic sense, the adoption of a complex information system such as CRM, Ko et al. (2008) adapted the work of Rogers (ibid) and focused on two main stages of the IDT: persuasion, which they referred to as perception, and implementation. The perception stage refers to cognitive beliefs underpinning an attitude towards CRM benefits. They argued that positive perception of CRM benefits would lead to decisions as to its adoption and implementation. In turn, this stage would depend on organisational deployment of specific CRM technologies/strategies. Based on prior research and drawing on theoretical support from the adoption model of Ko et al. (2008), this study s conceptual model is depicted in Figure 1, as shown in Appendix. Two central
3 components of CRM adoption put forward by Ko et al. (2008) are specifically adopted here. First, employees attempt to judge the salient characteristics of the innovation and form an attitude towards the innovation. Without such information, organisations may hesitate to invest in CRM if there is uncertainty about the benefits and costs of implementing CRM. Second, the multi-stage model suggests that employee perceptions influence an organisation s decision to implement specific CRM strategies/technologies across. Hence, the intermediate capability of employee perceptions is examined here to explain the implementation of CRM throughout the organisation. Based on related literature (e.g. Ryals and Payne, 2001; Rigby et al., 2002; Wilson et al., 2002; Reinartz et al., 2004) and nine in-depth interviews with CRM stakeholders, it was hypothesised that six factors influence employee perceptions: customer segmentation, customer satisfaction orientation, clear direction and objectives, performance measurement, project management and knowledge management. This is in accord with the notion that CRM should be addressing three main perspectives: customer orientation, strategy, technology (Payne and Frow, 2005) and that only when all these three perspectives work in concert can a holistic understanding of the CRM adoption emerge. As shown in Figure 1 in the Appendix, the beliefs/perceptions of individuals in organisations (dependent variable), in relation to CRM, tend to mediate the impact of adoption factors (independent variables) on the implementation of CRM (dependent variable). The six independent variables in the conceptual framework are discussed below. Rigby et al. (2002) emphasise that the adoption of CRM without good old-fashioned segmentation is doomed to failure. This is mainly because the effective use of traditional segmentation analysis plays a critical role in helping businesses relate more easily to CRM benefits. Moreover, customer segmentation is significant for redefining CRM strategies and tactics, and effective resource allocation (Meadows and Dibb, 2012). As they develop, businesses realise that they do not want relationships with all customers, and alternatively move to targeting more profitable customers (Van Raaij and Vernooij, 2003). Meadows and Dibb (ibid) add that CRM adoption is a journey which begins with segmentation analysis and identification of profitable customers, and that customer insight provided by segmentation analysis is the first step towards customer-centric orientation. This means that taking responsibility for segmenting customers, which may include the activities of building and updating a customer database, is essential in order to meet the challenges of adopting CRM (Blattberg et al., 2009). H 1. Organisation s emphasis on conducting segmentation analysis will have a positive effect on employee perceptions of CRM benefits. Most businesses actively implement CRM to improve customer satisfaction, since it exploits and leverages interactive communication and genuinely involves customers with businesses to maximise their satisfaction (Maklan and Knox, 2009). CRM helps businesses to identify customers behaviour patterns and future needs, to determine their satisfaction level. It enables businesses to understand their customers and to use this knowledge proactively to create customer value and increase customer satisfaction, especially when businesses share customer information with their suppliers and partners (Feinberg and Kadam, 2002). H 2. Organisation s emphasis on customer satisfaction will have a positive effect on employee perceptions of CRM benefits.
4 The strategic planning process offers a coherent framework for allocating organisational resources, managing challenges, exploiting opportunities, and evaluating CRM and business performance (Bohling et al., 2006). A critical success factor of CRM implementation relies on the alignment of CRM with business strategy, organisation and process, monitoring and control, information technology, employees and culture. Therefore, organisations need to continuously locate the interrelationships among CRM activities and their business strategy and goals (Kim et al., 2003), especially since the analysis of such interrelationships can lead to deeper insights into the effectiveness of CRM, not just to clarify what should be done to achieve better outcomes, but also to help senior management and marketers to determine their CRM strategy. Consequently, it is essential for organisations to cover CRM activities in their performance measurement systems, in order to assess the operation of their vision and the reliability of the strategic plan formulated to adopt CRM systems. H 3. Incorporating clear direction and objectives that embrace CRM strategy will have a positive effect on employee perceptions of CRM benefits. H 4. Appropriate CRM performance measurement mechanisms in an organisation will have a positive effect on employee perceptions of CRM benefits. Wilson et al. (2002) emphasise that project management teams need to monitor and control CRM implementation, in order to ensure flexibility and adjustments to unexpected changes. Hence, an agreement before the start of the project as to the distribution of milestones could facilitate the monitoring and control process. However, because of the complex nature of CRM projects, project managers may face difficulties in monitoring and adjusting project plans. Therefore, a CRM project plan needs to embrace cultural change issues within the project s scope, and to design for flexibility (Wilson et al., ibid). Researchers suggest that organisations with a cross-functional team assembled from different departments react more rapidly and constructively to changes than mono-functional teams (Payne, 2006). This is because a crossfunctional team is able more effectively to communicate across IT and marketing departments. This results in maintaining employee team commitment to the success of a CRM project which, in turn, may lead to a better effective customised project that meets users requirements. Such good communication management can increase the success rate of CRM projects, as it would enhance stakeholder understanding of the project, thus obtaining their support and gaining their commitment to deliver the CRM project's results (Man et al., 2006). H 5. Effectively managing changes in CRM projects will have a positive effect on employee perceptions of CRM benefits. Customer interactions with organisations are not limited to sales and marketing departments but extend to a variety of different people and departments at different levels. This suggests that CRM implementation efforts are successful when top management implements suitable processes and technologies that support KM dynamics. These dynamics include coordinated information gathering and sharing throughout all customer channels (Lee-Kelley and Gilbert, 2003; Dong, 2012). KM dynamics are paramount for CRM strategy, in order to equip all staff with knowledge of customer so as to enhance long-term relationships with profitable customers (Bose and Sugumaran, 2003). It is notable that the majority of CRM projects appear to fail because of improperly conducted KM, which leads to a narrow view of the customers (Romano and Fjermerstad, 2003; Moreno and Melendez, 2011).
5 H 6. Organisation s ability to manage customer knowledge will have a positive effect on employee perceptions of CRM benefits. While the capabilities of an organisation to react quickly and support new innovative solutions must start at individual level, evidence suggests that these capabilities are impacted by a variety of organisational variables, such as customer and strategic orientations (Trainor et al., 2011). A recent study indicates that aligning employees needs with CRM strategies is vital for CRM implementation (Vella and Caruana, 2012). That is, while CRM needs to be incorporated into the work processes of the organisation, it can only succeed if the system is accepted by individuals as a way of thinking about customers as valuable (Trainor et al., ibid). Moreover, Plakoyiannaki (2005) argues that the beliefs or perceptions of individuals in organisations, in relation to CRM benefits, tend to mediate the impact of external factors on CRM implementation. Hence, it can be concluded that employees perceptions of CRM benefits must play a key role in shaping an organisation s behavioural decisions about the implementation of CRM (Day, 2002). H 7. Employee perceptions of CRM benefits mediate the effect of adoption factors on an organisation's implementation of CRM. Methods The process of developing the research instrument (questionnaire) in this study can be divided into four stages: i) defining variables, ii) developing scale items, iii) translating the instrument, and iv) conducting a pilot test. The instrument used three types of questions: nominal scale, seven-point likert scale, and open-ended questions. After providing respondents with a general and simple definition of a CRM system, the instrument was designed to include four-parts. The first part, related to CRM in the organisation, was used to collect basic information about the CRM system used by employees, and its implementation status. The second part related to the organisation s adoption of CRM. This part of the questionnaire was used to collect information regarding employee perceptions of the benefits of CRM, and the factors affecting CRM adoption (adoption process stages measured by 9 items and adoption factors measured by 26 items). To maintain continuity in CRM research, a number of published instruments from separate studies across varying disciplines were consulted to generate scale items for the factors in the conceptual framework. The third part related to organisational characteristics including type of industry, number of employees, turnover, etc. The fourth part investigated the respondents characteristics including gender, age, experiences, etc. In this study, the sample used for data analysis included 301 practitioners from ten organisations across four sectors Banking, Telecommunications, Hospitality and Automotive Services in Jordan. Findings Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) was employed, using the two-step model-building approach recommended by Anderson and Gerbing (1998): assessment of the measurement model and assessment of the structural model. The first step employs Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) to confirm or reject the proposed model. Reliability and validity of items in the measurement model were examined during the CFA stage. After deriving the best-fitting measurement model, a study model and related instruments were tested and assessed for validity and reliability (Hair et al., 2006). In investigating reliability, items used to measure the constructs in the conceptual model were found to be highly reliable, with all three measures of
6 convergent validity test exceeding the suggested levels of acceptance (i.e., 0.70 for construct reliability, 0.50 for AVE, and 0.70 for construct reliability) (Anderson and Gerbing, 1998). As indicated in Table 1 in the Appendix, AVE estimates were greater than the corresponding interconstruct squared correlations. As the results of the CFA demonstrated that the good-modelfit of the measurement model was acceptable (chi-square/df = 1.70, AGFI=.86, CFI=.91 and RMSEA=.049), the measurement model was incorporated into the second stage of SEM analysis. This stage involved using SEM on structural models to evaluate the hypothesised relationships that predict CRM adoption. The underlying hypotheses of this study were represented in seven paths, as outlined in Table 2 in the Appendix. These hypotheses were directional in nature and aimed to determine the relationships among the underlying constructs in the structural model. In order to achieve rigorous test results when testing the directional hypotheses, a rigid level of significance within one-tailed testing was used (p<.05). Accordingly, five out of the seven research hypotheses were supported: H 1, H 3, H 4, H 6, and H 7. More specifically, the results suggested that four factors were important drivers of employees perception of CRM: i) customer segmentation, ii) having a clear objective of CRM influences, iii) strategically measuring CRM performance, and iv) knowledge management (KM). Moreover, the hypothesised relationship between employee perceptions and CRM implementation within an organisation (H 7 ) was found to be strong and significant. Yet, the hypothesised positive effects of customer satisfaction orientation (H 2 ) and project management (H 5 ) on employee perceptions of CRM were rejected. Discussion Based on our findings, it could be said that CRM serves to introduce large-scale change to an organisation, and that managing this change requires the alteration or adaptation of employees perceptions of CRM. This may be achieved through four different initiatives. Starting with the first initiative, segmentation has proven to be important for CRM adoption; in particular it is clear that a good segmentation analysis used by an organisation will lead to an increased understanding of CRM benefits. The reason segmentation is so important is because it highlights the importance of gaining insights as to the type and value of customers in order to plan accordingly for effective resource allocation (Meadows and Dibb, 2012). The surprising findings from this study contrast quite markedly with many past studies which suggested that organisation orientation around customer satisfaction is important for CRM (Stefanou et al., 2003; Maklan and Knox, 2009). In this study, it is suggested that CRM specifically failed to fulfil the expectations of organisations focusing on customer satisfaction. These particular organisations tended to have higher expectations from CRM. However, with CRM short-term issues arise and benefits are preserved over the longer-term (Xu and Walton, 2005). The noticeable failure in CRM adoption may, therefore, seem to rely on organisational failure to adopt an ideological stance to support its customer satisfaction rhetoric. The results confirm that an organisation should provide clear direction and objectives for CRM (Reynolds, 2002; Osarenkhoe and Benni, 2007) and a means for evaluating its performance in order to set up desired expectations among all stakeholders (Morgan, 2004; Sawang et al., 2006). Setting a clear direction and goals for CRM, which was aligned with the overall organisational vision, will keep the organisation engaged, focused and effective (Chen and Chen, 2004). However, present discussion amongst scholars indicates that setting the right goals for
7 CRM is not an easy process (e.g. Kim et al., 2012). This is important, since while organisations might understand it as obvious to focus on customers, they often fail to include adequate customer data in their CRM strategies (Elmuti et al., 2009). The results confirm that an organisation s positive ability to manage customer knowledge will lead to better understanding of CRM and subsequently more innovativeness in an organisation (Rigby et al., 2002). KM capabilities serve to classify customers, predict their behaviour, influence cross-selling and up-selling, and facilitate personalised marketing (Chan, 2005). From a managerial perspective, the importance of understanding the link between KM and CRM adoption is that by doing so, organisations can provide the infrastructure and resources to support CRM. Hence, organisations need proactively to incorporate customer knowledge into their services, strategies and operations, for employees to value CRM capabilities. Implications and Conclusions This study attempts to develop a holistic picture of the impetus of CRM adoption in organisations. There is a movement by researchers to combine some aspects from different theoretical approaches to develop a new understanding of the phenomenon. Still, the particular nature of this phenomenon remains elusive. This study suggests that throughout the adoption process, businesses need to develop a holistic view of CRM by focusing on the individual level of adoption, of CRM strategies as something accepted and valued by employees, towards the organisational level of adoption, where strategy is something an organisation implements. This multi-stage approach to understanding the CRM adoption process reveals that employee perceptions serve as a critical mediator between organisational efforts and actual implementation of CRM within an organisation. Moreover, factors affecting CRM adoption can have a different effect on both individual and organisational elements in the adoption stages. Although both adoption stages may be familiar to scholars, the value of this study lies in integrating them, thereby offering a more holistic picture of CRM and its adoption. There is a scarcity to date in multi-stage empirical investigation of CRM adoption antecedents in organisations, and from a multi-disciplinarily review of the adoption process, in the CRM literature. Future Research Future research should address the limitations apparent in the current study. First, there is a need to assess the generalisability of the conceptual model and extend it to other businesses environments, (ie: Europe and the USA). This is mainly because different cultures can bring different themes and perspectives to the CRM domain. Second, future research needs to investigate what manifests as good CRM performance. Business performance is a multidimensional concept that may be related to several aspects, including customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, return on investment, market share and sales growth. Third, although this study did not investigate the dark side practices of CRM, we view our results as linking to this area because they indicate that organisations and employees who are concerned about customer satisfaction have negative perceptions of CRM offerings. Hence, this study draws attention to the necessity for further research, to explore the dark sides of CRM practice. Finally, this study does not seek to incorporate the psychology discipline, with particular reference to motivation, social and workplace creativity issues. Further research should incorporate this discipline and these issues to shed light on any motivational reasons affecting CRM adoption.
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12 Appendix Figure 1 Conceptual framework Table 1 Measure validity tests and construct intercorrelations Segmentation Customer satisfaction Clear direction and objectives Performance measurement system Project management Knowledge management Perception Implementation Average variance extracted Composite reliability Mean Standard deviation a Values below the diagonal (numbers in italics) are correlations: values above the diagonal are squared correlations.
13 Table 2 Hypothesis Testing Hypothesis Path t-value Relationship Number Estimate H1 customer segmentation perception * H2 customer satisfaction perception H3 clear direction and objectives perception * H4 performance measurement perception * H5 project management perception H6 knowledge management perception * H7 perception implementation * clear direction and objectives implementation * project management implementation * Model Fit Statistics X X 2 /Df 1.70 AGFI.86 CFI.92 RMSEA.048 Variance explained (R 2 ) Perception.60 Implementation.48 *Significant at p<0.05