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Title: Multiple channel integration process : contribution to firm-customer relationships : case study of a UK retail bank
Author: Banerjee, Madhumita
ISNI:       0000 0001 3442 327X
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis investigates the role and contribution of multiple channel integration, as one of the five key processes of customer relationship management (CRM) in building and maintaining firm-customer relationships. The multiple channel integration process is the most dynamic of the five CRM processes because it facilitates firm-customer interaction (Payne and Frow, 2005; Knox et al., 2003). While practitioner work and anecdotal evidence about the importance of multiple channel integration continues to grow, there is, however, little academic published work on the topic - a fact acknowledged within the CRM and channel literatures (cf. Payne and Frow, 2004; Rheault and Sheridan, 2002). This thesis seeks to address this gap by exploring issues of multiple channel integration strategy, implementation and customer experience of service encounters with people and processes within and across channels. The research draws upon literature from relationship marketing and CRM, strategic marketing, multiple channels, services marketing and consumer psychology to develop the theoretical concepts and shape the research objectives. This research study was undertaken in the context of the retail banking industry in the UK with three stakeholders in the channel integration process: a retail bank planning and undertaking channel integration, technology partner firms enabling channel integration implementation and customers of the retail bank experiencing multiple channel usage. A qualitative case study research approach was adopted, given the exploratory nature of the research issues. Data was collected over twenty months employing multiple sources of evidence such as documents, archival records, in-depth interviews and critical incident technique embedded in the interviews. This research study uncovers evidence of customer contact management as a strategic need, the role of multiple channels in facilitating successful customer contact management and the importance of multiple channel integration to successfully deliver on the same. This research study has also across the three data sets found empirical evidence that multiple channels can contribute to firm-customer relationship strengthening or termination depending on the way events, activities and processes are structured within and across channels as part of the multiple channel integration process. On that basis, channels and channel strategy become critical elements of the CRM process. Given the strategic role and contribution of multiple channels in maintaining and building relationships, this thesis argues that channels should not be considered merely as routes to markets for goods, services and information, rather as strategic resources to be deployed effectively to deliver on the tenets of CRM. This study is one of the first attempts to empirically examine in depth one of the CRM processes - the multiple channel integration process. The exploratory findings from this research make a conceptual contribution by identifying and adding new dimensions to the extant literature. The empirical and methodological contributions rest in its attempt to provide a holistic picture of the research phenomenon emerging across three perspectives. In addition, the research findings identify strategy, implementation and customer experience issues with managerial implications for streamlining the multiple channel integration process in business practice. Future research can takes these findings as a starting point and investigate them further to broaden our understanding of an emerging research phenomenon.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral