Assessment of factors leading to customer relationship management success

The purpose of this study is to Identify and assess the key elements of CRM in the context of Iran’s software industry. To accomplish this objective, we adopted an exploratory research approach to identify the CRM key elements and effectiveness factors by means of literature review and expert interviews.

Our initial research model is derived from two areas of the literature: CRM key elements and CRM performance effectiveness evaluation. CRM key elements are the aspects of the CRM that seems to be crucial to success of a CRM strategy implementation. These factors are derived from three researches done by Lindgreen et al. (2006), Bohling et al. (2006) and Mendoza et al. (2006). On the other side, we focused primarily on the performance effectiveness factors provided by Kim, Suh & Hwang (2003), Bohling et al. (2006), Kevin et al. (2006), Wang and Lo (2004) and Izquierdo et al. (2005).

Finally, we came up with the research frame of reference which was constructed based on both literature and 8 pilot interviews conducted with some CRM professionals in Iran. The expert interviews helped us to improve our research model as well as fitting and matching it with regard to requirements of Iranian business environment. After constructing our two research conceptual models, we needed to conduct a quantitative research in order to describe the causal relationships of the model’s variables. Therefore, we adopted an explanatory research approach by means of a survey strategy. After elimination of bias, 126 questionnaires were coded and analyzed for investigation with an effective response rate of 54.8%. The first conceptual model intends to evaluate a model containing 2 latent variables and 11 observed variables in order to analyze the effect of overall CRM strength on the overall CRM effectiveness of the companies. Estimation of first conceptual model in LISREL showed that CRM strength has a positive relationship with all CRM key elements. Process, Knowledge Management and IT have the highest correlations with CRM strength. On the other hand, CRM success has a strong positive correlation with all CRM performance effectiveness factors. Internally-focused performance effectiveness has the greatest correlation with CRM success which shows internally-oriented factors have a greater share in constructing the CRM overall success. Later on, the model showed that CRM strength strongly enhances CRM success and the research findings recommend Iran’s Software companies using and improving CRM key elements as a mean of enhancing their performance and improving their market position.

The second conceptual model intends to evaluate a model containing 8 latent variables and 26 observed variables in order to evaluate the direct effects of CRM key elements on the overall CRM effectiveness of the companies. the results showed that among the CRM key elements, Information Technology, Change Management and ‘Organization’ significantly strengthen the CRM performance effectiveness among the companies in the survey (at 95%); moreover, Strategy significantly attenuate the CRM performance (at 95%). The impacts of Process, People and Knowledge Management on the CRM performance effectiveness are significant at 90% significant level. The effect of Top Management Attitude on the performance effectiveness is not significant.

As a result, building and validating a model of CRM key elements and assessment of their impact on the performance outcomes, we contributed to fill a void in the academic literature. Further to the knowledge and implications that surround CRM, one of the main problems is that no common model exists to guide companies active in different business environment in adaptation of CRM strategy; on the contrary, companies need models compatible with requirements unique to their own business environment, so proposing a set of CSFs for software companies in Iran, on the behalf of the software companies in other developing countries with the same conditions, can contribute to application and deployment of CRM in different business contexts

Author: Azari, Ali

Source: Luleå University of Technology

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