Social Media in the B2B context
Social media are now an integral part of how people stay connected and communicate. Given that personal relationships and interactions play a key role in the business to business environment, it is pertinent to investigate how social media can be successfully deployed by such organisations. This report examines the successful use of social media by businesses that primarily sell to other businesses. This was done by reviewing academic and practitioner literature that discussed specific examples of adoption of social media platforms by business to business firms, and how such adoption had added value to the organisation in question.
Our study identified examples of successful use of social media in small as well as multinational organisations, and in a variety of manufacturing and service contexts. The application most discussed in the literature reviewed was branding, followed by communications. There was also evidence of social media being used as part of the sales cycle, particularly in terms of lead generation. In addition, social media were deemed valuable in the areas of customer service and market intelligence.
The study also explored how business to business organisations are using social media to achieve their objectives. It is clear that social media require a style of communication different from other, traditional platforms. There is an emphasis on approachability, authenticity and interaction, and an increased use of stories and content that show the human side of the organisation.
B2B Customer Experience Factors in SME Customers
This project was set up to explore customer experience factors in the SME segment and to address a number of questions:-
What are the most important factors that contribute to the customer experience from both the supplier’s and the SME customer’s perspectives?
From the customer’s perspective, what about the relationship with the supplier requires the ‘most’ or ‘least’ effort and what changes do customers suggest?
Where a customer has both a personal and a business relationship with the supplier, how does this impact their views?
Analysis of the responses showed that useful conclusions could be made from the data collected so far but that it would be more valuable if more companies were persuaded to participate in the future. As a result, this report has been prepared as an interim statement of what has been learnt and to provide specific feedback to the participating companies.
This report presents the results of analysis from the survey on a company-by-company basis. Most of the data is only relevant at company level but consolidated results are shown where possible.
Employee Engagement Progress Report
This Employee Engagement research project set out to answer the question "How can we develop and maintain a customer-oriented organisation to support the creation of superior customer experience". The overall research project will continue beyond 2013 so this progress report looks at initial research conducted in 2013 to examine the following questions:
1. What are the requisite organisational policies, practices, and procedures in the creation and delivery of superior customer experience?
2. How do these policies, practices, and procedures support service delivery? Do they contribute to employees’ engagement with work and with the organisation? Do they contribute to employees’ job satisfaction, turnover, and performance?
Measuring B2B Customer Satisfaction And Customer Effort
This paper reviews the available literature and previous research and then goes on to present the results from a series of exploratory interviews with a representative range of B2B companies and, where possible, some of their customers.
The project demonstrates that the B2B companies compile and use a customer satisfaction rating for their business-to-business relationships but that there is little commonality between companies in both the full range of questions asked and the scales used for the individual questions.
It appears from this research that the inclusion of customer effort questions would benefit the customer satisfaction process for B2B companies and a number of best practise approaches were identified from this and previous research.
The Changing Nature of Segmentation
This paper presents the findings from interviews with leading exponents of segmentation and also the insights from a recent study of marketing practitioners relating to their current imperatives and foci. More extensive views of some of these ‘leading lights’ have been sought and are included here in order to showcase the latest developments and to help explain both the ongoing surge of segmentation and the issues under-pinning its practice. The principal trends and developments are thereby presented and discussed in this paper.
Social Spending: Investing in Social Media Marketing
This report demonstrates that social media can no longer be treated as a novelty fad by companies and it has become a key strategic marketing activity. Therefore, it demands more from the company in terms of resources. It demands more time, focus and also money. It needs a clearly defined framework that helps managers evaluate investments in it, a carefully planned support infrastructure, and a measurement and tracking system that supports the health check of investment.
Corporate Reputation and Inter-firm partnerships
Successful partnerships are those in which close collaboration arises because of synergistic skills and complementary outlooks that result in positive outcomes. These partnerships have reputations, and in some cases create a strong advantage over competitors by broadcasting a jointly fostered sense of identity and culture with employees and a sense of community and loyalty that attracts other stakeholders. If the reputations of such partnerships are important to those within the dyadic exchange, then there is merit in assessing the impact of partnership reputation more widely in a network setting.
This report discusses the importance of corporate reputation and the characteristics and outcomes that result from such B2B partnership reputations. It is based upon work conducted jointly at Henley Business School and Albers School of Business and Economics at the University of Seattle.
The Use of Social Media in a B2B Context
Despite the popularity of social media (SM) and in particular social networking sites (SNS), their importance in shaping commercial online interaction and their potential to support brands, research into SNS is very limited, and focuses largely on the consumer in a B2C domain. To date, there is paucity of systematic research on how SNS are used by companies, particularly B2B companies, and how they contribute to brand objectives.
This study builds on the limited literature on SM in a B2B context and aims to identify the extent of SNS usage, perceived benefits and barriers as well as common metrics used by B2B organisations.
Influencing the Influencers
One of the central concepts in marketing theory is the idea that some individuals are more influential than others, and that these influencers play a central role in driving adoption of new products and services. From a customer service perspective, when these influencers are dissatisfied, they are able to drive disproportionally large numbers of customers, and potential customers, away. This report includes two pieces of research to help organisations engage with, and manage, online influencers.
The first investigates the role of hyperinfluencers in online rate-and-review sites; the second examined the role of influence on social media sites, specifically Facebook, and questions whether it is possible to build effective brand communities on Facebook.
For both pieces of research recommendations are provided for best practice in maximising the beneficial effect of online influencers, and minimising the potential for damaging brands online.
This report looks at the status of multichannel marketing. The focus of the research examines best practice examples from the United States and a detailed review of the field. The research was conducted over the summer of 2012 and identified over 240 quality articles for inclusion in the review. Using systematic review methodology a number of key themes and respective indicators emerged from the field. Results of the study identified common multichannel platforms, tools that assist management in determining high-quality multichannel decisions, features of consumer behaviour, successful investment decision-making processes, channel optimisation and a review of consumer expectations of a multichannel marketing world.
Multichannel In A Complex World
The proliferation of devices and channels has brought new challenges to just about every organisation in delivering consistently good customer experiences and effectively joining up service provision with marketing activity, data and content. A good multichannel strategy and execution is increasingly becoming essential to marketers and customer experience professionals from every sector.
This report seeks to identify the key issues, challenges and opportunities that surround multichannel and provide some best practice insight and principles on the elements that are key to multichannel success. As part of the research for this report, we spoke to six experienced customer experience and marketing practitioners from large organisations across different sectors.
Exploring Online Community Participation
Firm-hosted online brand communities, in which consumers interact regarding brand-centric topics, represent a fascinating context to study the motives of participation within the community. This project used in-depth laddering interviews to establish why individuals participate through understanding how that participation fulfils individual need and enhances personal value.
The main study comprises two approaches – participant observation in the community, and individual in-depth interviews with 32 community members. Over 2222 data points and 750 ladders were discovered and analysed using the laddering technique. Seven themes emerged as to why individuals actively participate in an online brand community – belonging, recognition, helping others, knowledge, professional advancement, personal development, and entertainment.
Literature review_e-Word of Mouth
This short report aims to help such companies to build a sustainable and trustworthy relationship with their customers online. To do so, the report considers the subject from the perspective of a pharmaceutical company. It will first discuss the current regulations around the healthcare industry, highlighting the constraints pharmaceutical marketers need to face. Then, it will review current literature discussing healthcare consumers’ online behaviour. In particular, it will focus on consumers’ negative comments and their possible impact on the business. Finally, the report concludes with some suggestions about how to cope with negative comments online and build a reliable relationship with customers.
Collaborative Innovation and Co-Creation
This project explores how collaborative innovation and co-creation between stakeholders can deliver value for firms. An extensive literature review was carried out, along with qualitative interviews with senior managers responsible for or involved in collaborative innovation in their firms.
This study suggests that innovating by collaborating with a variety of internal and external stakeholders is not a ‘fad’, but rather a process that will become increasingly ingrained in the ever-evolving business models of successful firms. The most successful firms will be those with the highest quality contributors and communities behind their innovation management processes. The authors propose that by giving due consideration to the areas and issues outlined in the report, firms will be equipped with a better understanding of how collaborative innovation and co-creation can deliver value for all stakeholders.
The objectives of this study were three fold. Firstly, to determine if traditional market segmentation practices are relevant in online social networks. Secondly, to ascertain if there are new segments and practices emerging in social networks and thirdly to make recommendations, derived from the study’s findings, as to how to apply segmentation to online social networks as a marketing and communications channel.
The study found that organisations are able to relate their existing basic demographic and product usage segments to social networks. This can be done because the consumers that form their segments can be found participating in open online communities, forums and interest groups. Organisations are using segment pull techniques to draw in and engage with specific segments in their own closed hosted communities as well as open social networks such as Facebook.
This research report was commissioned to review the current status of homeworking in the UK, compare to the status in the US where the practice is much more prevalent and to develop an initial view of the important factors to consider when looking at a homeworking project.
The report presents case studies of a number of companies that use homeworkers and an analysis of homeworker interviews and then goes on to present a model of a homeworking project to help organisations that are considering the use of homeworkers. The framework presented will help managers to plan their own projects and identifies areas that they need to address.
Developing a Social Media Strategy
Social media is a mix of psychology, sociology and technology offering great opportunities as well as challenges to businesses in today’s fast moving and competitive environment. This report examines the rise of social media and its potential business impact while exploring best practice in developing effective social media strategies. The review begins with a consideration of what constitutes social media and social networking before going on to consider the influences that motivate people to engage in social media. This research includes an extensive literature review of both academic and practitioner sources in order to identify best practice for developing effective social media strategies.
e-Retailing Customer Experience
Building on previous studies into the drivers of online customer experience (OCE), this report develops our understanding of OCE by investigating both the antecedent (pre-conditions) and consequences of a positive OCE.
Managerial implications are provided to e-retailers that include insights into the role of control and empowerment for online customers; the growing importance of the ability for online customers to customise their own web pages; and the importance of contact and connection with other customers within the online retail community. The relationship between satisfaction and re-purchase intention and the role of trust to reduce feelings of vulnerability are also explored.
Complaints Management 2.0
This report examines customer complaint management practices in an era where customers expect instant action from companies and, if service does not meet their expectations, they do not hesitate to voice their disappointment in both public and private arenas. This research includes an extensive literature review of both academic and practitioner sources in order to identify best practice for complaint management in the business to consumer environment.
How Can Suppliers Enable and Support their Clients' Sustainability Initiatives
This research study aims to provide insights into how suppliers can enable and support their
clients' sustainability initiatives most effectively, in a business-to-business context. A
detailed review of recent articles on the subject of sustainability, from academic and
practitioner journals, was undertaken. A qualitative research approach was followed: eight
semi-structured, in-depth interviews were carried out with senior managers from three
How to Implement Best Practice in Strategic Partnerships
In 2009, Dibley and Clark carried out research to identify best practice in managing
relationships with outsource partners. The objective of this new study is to take the most
dominant/complex success factors identified in the previous research (Dibley & Clark, 2009),
and provide guidance on how to implement them within outsourcing relationships.
Key Influences upon Online Customer Experience
The results of this study support a definition of online customer experience that views it as the outcome of an interaction between the customer and an organisation’s website. There are six potential components of an experience which are: sensorial, emotional, cognitive, pragmatic, lifestyle and relational. The relevance and importance of each will vary depending on the purchase context.
Best Practise in Managing Relationships with Outsource Partners
This report seeks to provide insights into best practice in managing outsourcing relationships. The author examines existing academic research and conducts case-based interviews to build a picture of the factors that are critical to the success of managing outsourcing relationships. The extensive literature review explores outsourcing issues in a variety of industry sectors, and with reference to a range of different types of outsourcing. Case studies were developed by interviewing senior managers involved in managing outsourcing relationships on both the outsource supplier and the client side.
Best Practise in B2G CRM
The findings of the study have concentrated on identifying the best practice approaches which are particularly significant in the B2G context. There is a lot of similarity between B2B and B2G relationship building but the method used in the B2G situation may be different due to the mandated procurement processes. The findings have been presented in accordance with the 3 phases of the procurement process: early engagement before formal procurement starts; during the competitive bidding phase; after contract award.
Commercialisation of Social Media
This report explores how social media tools are being commercialised by business. It provides an overview of the relevance of social media to both business to business and business to consumer operations; lists common channels of social media; places development of social media into a historical context outlining future predictions; identifies and answers a range of common problems facing companies looking to commercialise social media; looks at a taxonomy of opportunities for commercialising social media; and presents ongoing research findings.
Co-Creation and the Customer Experience
This is an interim, update report by researchers at the Henley Centre for Customer Management. Drawing from the theoretical base provided by the concept of ‘service-dominant logic’ an in-depth case study is being conducted into a firm that is distinctive for its commercial success and approach to business. This report discusses both the principles of service dominant logic and how this is being tested in practice.
Web Quality and Research Update
Previous research for The Henley Centre for Customer Management found that online experience consisted primarily of thirteen themes and 83 indicators of those themes. This years’ research has explored the web quality literature. A systematic review of the field revealed a range of scales that have been used to measure web quality. One web quality scale has been explored in detail, presented with a methodology for members to implement this in survey format.
CSR and the Customer Experience
This paper explores the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR), and the impact CSR initiatives can have on customer experience and reactions. CSR is an organisation’s obligation to evaluate its social, environmental and economic impact on its stakeholders, and on the surroundings that it affects through its activities. Organisations should aim to have a positive impact on the people and environment they affect, through a clear focus on environmental, social and economic sustainability.
Customer Experience through Intermediaries
This study explores the question “How can a company create and maintain an ideal/perfect customer experience (CE) in the presence of intermediaries / distribution partners”? At this stage the results have been validated against a ‘list’ created by the attendees at a Henley Centre for Customer Management Workshop which was looking specifically at maximising value through relationships. The list identified suggestions that would enable an organisation to deliver the perfect Customer Experience through Intermediaries. This was further developed after the literature review to a more comprehensive checklist detailed at the end of this paper.
Exploring Online Customer Experience
This project was conducted on behalf of the Henley Centre for Customer Management and explored the perceptions of both B2B and B2C customers with online experience in both Europe and the United States. 132 people were interviewed in depth using a qualitative version of Repertory Grid. Over 100 hours of interview were analysed. The research also adopted a cross industry approach as an aid to generalisability. The analysis identified a number of themes and factors necessary for the optimum B2C and similarly for the optimum B2B experience. The report also contains a checklist of factors members should consider when crafting the optimum experience for their online customers.
This research looked at organisations that have taken such a channel migration approach in both B2B and B2C environments. In addition to considering the effect of the approach on customers, the project also looked at the internal company impacts that are usually caused by a change in the “go to market” strategy. It considered, for example, the impact on sales people and on customer service representatives.
Multichannel Customer Experience
This report studies best practice in crafting and profiting from the multichannel customer experience, through in-depth study of major multichannel projects at First Direct, IBM, BT Global Services and General Motors Europe. Findings were also informed by interviews with boutique hotel chain Eton Collection; DVLA; UK Trade and Investment; a high street retailer; and a financial services company.
Customer Insight in Inbound Service Call Centres
This research project builds on the September 2006 Henley report “How companies use customer insight to drive customer acquisition, retention and development” by concentrating on one aspect of the customer insight framework, namely how customer insight is actioned through the customer service function. The purpose of this project therefore was to investigate how companies use customer insight in inbound service call centres to cross-sell, up-sell and retain customers.
Customer Experience and online shopping
The findings of the research undertaken in this report are based on an independent assessment of each retailer website in terms of the measures developed in our Online Customer Experience research project. Each of the retailers was given a score for features relating to a positive customer experience; culminating in an overall percentage score for each of the retail companies surveyed.
Customer Experience Report
The researchers spent approximately 34 hours with 40 respondents discussing customer experience in-depth in Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) environments. The research is not limited to a particular industry sector but adopts a cross-industry approach. The team discovered 119 experience factors that are mutually exclusive. These form the basis for the Customer Experience (CE) Model. The results show that CE is context-dependent. The report highlights the key factors that are important in driving customer experience in B2B and B2C markets.
Organisational Climate Report
This report sets out the findings from a research study of a range of different organisations and compares them to the results from previous research conducted with best practice CRM companies who have been past winners of a Unisys/Management Today Service Excellence Award. The study was focused on analysing the organisational climate of these organisations using a previously developed questionnaire .
Customer Insight Exploration
The purpose of this research was to explore how companies use customer insight to drive customer acquisition, retention and development and to propose a theoretical model for generating and actioning customer insight. Using the qualitative methodology of case research, 25 in-depth interviews with five UK-based large companies from multiple industries were undertaken.
From Data to Dividends
For knowledge-based marketers, the critical issue is how knowledge leads to market insight, drives offer development and creates value. Previous research has defined CRM practice as the use of individual customer data to drive value. This previous work has also defined the necessary preconditions for effective CRM and the way successful firms adapt CRM to fit their situation. Like all good research, however, this raised further questions, especially about the detail of how firms use data to create value. This project undertook a comprehensive review of previously published research followed by 13 in-depth interviews with firms who were heavily involved in the data-to-value process.
The objective of this paper is to discuss the role for outsourcing within CRM strategy and identify the issues that organisations need to consider when deciding whether or not this is appropriate. The paper focuses in particular on outsourcing call centre activities as this has emerged as a key topic of interest to CRM Research Forum members.
Data: The Weakest Link or the Core Strength in CRM Strategy
The research identified a number of issues that organisations are facing in managing their data strategies. Several of the key issues underline the need to ensure that an effective information strategy is developed and implemented as vital first steps in the overall CRM plan. The final section describes the data related goals that organisations are aiming to achieve over the next few years. In many cases, the priorities identified will not be satisfactorily achieved without a structured approach to data management and commitment from across the organisation.
Understanding the Devil
This report describes the work carried out to build on previous research conducted in 2003, when CRM was defined and characterised. It seeks to answer three research questions that arose from the 2003 research, namely:
a) What is the most effective way to organise for CRM? b) What is the best way to justify CRM investment? c) How can CRM analytics be improved?
Achieving Excellence in CRM
The primary research involved the in-depth, qualitative study of eight exemplar companies in B2B and B2C sectors, in both products and services. This phase revealed that effective CRM operates within a CRM eco-system defined by both market and organisationally based factors. Awareness of this eco-system allows organisations to avoid wasteful investment in CRM when it is not appropriate to their business situation. Secondary research was used to synthesise a generic model of CRM which broadly but accurately describes the management process better than previous models. This model allows practitioners to understand and create the necessary preconditions for successful CRM in any organisation.
Customer Journey Mapping is crucial for every modern marketer. Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) is much more than defining a user experience. CJM is where you define the audience’s buying journey from their perspective and not your own. Doing so allows you to provide them with the content and communications they need to move along a personal, seamless and joined up journey that moves them ever closer to your commercial goal.
This paper presents the approaches to CJM outlined by Aly Richards when she presented to members of the Henley Centre for Customer Management at the workshop held in September 2016.
Hot Topics in Customer Management
The number of customer management related research and publications has increased significantly over the last ten years; the key areas or themes mainly focusing on customer satisfaction, customer service, customer loyalty, customer relationship management and customer value (source: Google Scholar).
The number of published articles relating to customer relationship, however, would seem to be on the decline, having peaked in 2013, whilst others remain steady. This probably indicates that new trends are on the horizon, or on the increase. This paper explores and highlights current trends in customer management as of April 2016 by reviewing a number of recent articles.
Professional Outsourcing Report on "Homeworking"
The Professional Outsourcing magazine recently published an article entitled "Homeworking" based on some of our research projects.
The article looks at different types of Homeworking practices and many of the issues that have to be addressed for successful outcomes.
Emerging segmentation practices in the age of the social customer
This paper, published in the Journal of Strategic Marketing, reports on an exploratory study of segmentation practices of organisations with a social media presence. It investigates whether traditional segmentation approaches are still relevant in this new socio-technical environment and identifies emerging practices. The study found that social media are particularly promising in terms of targeting influencers, enabling the cost-effective delivery of personalised messages and engaging with numerous customer segments in a differentiated way. However, some problems previously identified in the segmentation literature still occur in the social media environment, such as the technical challenge of integrating databases, the preference for pragmatic rather than complex solutions and the lack of relevant analytical skills. Overall, a gap has emerged between marketing theory and practice. While segmentation is far from obsolete in the age of the social customer, it needs to adapt to reflect the characteristics of the new media.
Customer Effort Help or Hype_BT Whitepaper
The HBR article that introduced the concept of the Customer Effort Score claimed that 94% of the customers who reported low effort expressed an intention to repurchase and 88% said they would increase their spending. Conversely, 81% of customers who had a hard time solving their problems reported an intention to spread negative word of mouth.
This article has generated considerable debate and the purpose of this paper is to establish how measurement of effort is being used by early adopting companies.
Whitepaper_Predicting Superior Performance in a Homeworking Environment
This whitepaper reports on a study with Arise Virtual Solutions Inc. undertaken by Profiles International at the request of Henley Business School. It illustrates how profiling can be used to improve recruitment and training. The study focused on 15 members of the Arise Certified Professionals (ACP) team to create a pattern to identify:
1. The characteristics of the team’s top performers
2. The gaps between the top performers and the other members of the team.
3. The specific training and coaching needs of each study participant to maximise their performance for Arise.
Self-Service - A Generational View Whitepaper
This research whitepaper discusses the development of self-service from the latter part of the 20th century to the present day and explores both the contribution from, and impact on, each of the four generational groups active today.
The Impact of Self-Service on the Customer Experience Whitepaper
This whitepaper discusses the evidence from consumer research which suggests that the benefits of self-service are not being fully realized, and in many cases, self-service applications are damaging rather than enhancing the consumers’ overall service experience. The paper draws on factory and theatre metaphors to illustrate how two main recommendations might be operationalized.
Social Media Research - Cisco Services White Paper
To understand how organizations use social networking and web 2.0 tools, such as wikis, blogs, and social networking sites, to collaborate outside traditional organizational boundaries, and how process, culture and technology can solve problems and drive business model innovation, three leading business schools, IESE Business School in Spain, Rochester Institute of Technology in the USA, and Henley Business School in the conducted a study between April and September 2009. They interviewed large companies such as 3M, BAE, Bank of America, Daimler, and IBM well as smaller, more nimble organizations across 20 countries, interviewing 97 businesses in total. This report presents the findings of this study.
Customer focus amongst non customer facing employees - 3M Paper
The purpose of this project was to investigate connections between the communication of customer insight data to non-customer-facing employees, and increased customer focus amongst those employees. The findings suggest that the dissemination of customer insights to non-customer-facing employees is an overlooked and under-researched antecedent of market orientation, yet has the potential to be an important component of an organisation’s evolution towards being truly customer focused, and as such is becoming a feature of contemporary management practice.
Exceeding or Misleading Customer Expectation - Broadsystem Paper
To understand how companies are handling customer requests, Broadsystem commissioned our researchers to contact the top 100 UK advertisers (as ranked by Marketing magazine), using their websites as a means of establishing contact details, and rate them based on the experience and against an agreed set of criteria. The purpose of the research was to rate companies from a customer perspective and to identify areas of best CRM practice that organisations can learn from.
Supplier Manufacturer Relationship
This copy of an article that was developed in 2003 and appeared in the “Journal of Operations Management 24 (2006) 189-209” is included in our archive because it is the earliest illustration of the use of the ‘Repertory Grid Technique’ by our research team for relationship analysis. This approach has since been used extensively in our research into the customer experience in 2006 onward.