Customer Relationship Management within the United States Automotive Industry

During the last decade, increasing attention has been given to relationship marketing as a way to enhance cooperation between a selling company and its customers and bring benefits to both parties. Relationship marketing allows a selling company to better meet competition and exceed their competitors, and hence relationship marketing becomes an important determinator of success in the increasingly competitive business world of today. One method of relationship marketing is Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

The purpose of this thesis has been to gain a deeper understanding on the use of CRM within the U.S. automotive industry. To reach this purpose, a qualitative single-case study of one automotive supplier-company based in Michigan, U.S.A. has been made. Data have been collected mainly through interviews with three employees of the company.

The study shows that building and handling customer relationships is crucial for a company’s survival in the highly competitive business-to-business environment between suppliers and OEM’s in the U.S. automotive industry. The study also indicates that when a company has few and large customers, CRM is to a great extent handled through personal contacts and interactions between the supplier-company and the OEM’s, as opposed to handled through computer- based CRM-programs. Furthermore, the measurement/ evaluation of CRM seem to take place in the minds of the people involved in a sale, rather than through statistical measurements.

Author: Nilsson, Tina

Source: LuleƄ University of Technology

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