Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

Dimensions of Customer Relationship Management in the Tunisian Tourism Context

Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

Dimensions of Customer Relationship Management in the Tunisian Tourism Context

Article excerpt

Introduction

Relationship-oriented companies adopt a retention policy and put customer relationship at the center of strategic analysis, in order to prevent the departure of customers considered most profitable or those with good potential (Abdelmoula et al., 2007). These companies are looking for establishing privileged relationships with their customers in order to enhance their "customer" capital (Ben Issa, 2011). The 90s saw the emergence of mass CRM projects. This trend recalls back the reasons for which firms have adopted this tool, namely: commercially better manage and exploit their knowledge of customers.

CRM philosophy was introduced by Levitt in the 60s with the underlying idea: "the raison d'etre of a business is to create and keep a customer". CRM is not in itself a revolution but it proposes to manage a one-to-one relationship at a very large scale (Brown, 2001). Managing customer relationship, known as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) combines technology and business strategies to provide customers with the products and services they want or are willing to pay for. Improving CRM has become, more than ever, a business priority. CRM is often seen as an essential tool for creating and maintaining relationships with customers. It is a customer relationship strategy framed by a methodology and supported by technology (El Louadi et al., 2003). The first companies to adopt a CRM approach in key markets operated in the following areas: financial services, retailing, telecommunications, tourism, public services, and car industry (Herschel & Maoz, 2003).

According to (Lorenzon et al., 2005), CRM has four main components:

--Customers: the most important factor in a CRM application;

--Providers: all those who contribute to the value chain of an enterprise;

--Number of employees: managers, front-office, back-office and other employees;

--Partnerships: creating value for customers.

Research on CRM is abundant in the literature. Developed in different contexts, it contributed to better understanding and identifying of this concept (Sin et al., 2005; Lu & Shang, 2007; Hussain et al., 2009; Mansor et al., 2010; Kumar et al. 2011). Other research focused on measuring CRM showing different results (Sin et al., 2005; Zulkifli & Tahir, 2012; Agariya & Singh 2012a; 2012b; 2013). This research aims at identifying the different dimensions of customer relationship management in the Tunisian context. The central question then is: What are the different dimensions of customer relationship management in the tourism context in Tunisia? How do they position themselves in relation to those already suggested in the literature?

The Research framework

CRM has become a buzzword. This is a concept termed as old-new (Grouroos, 1994; Berry, 1995; Sheth & Parratiyar, 1995). CRM is a relatively new concept although its basic idea is ancient insofar as the customer is at the heart of the process and culture of the company. CRM is a powerful concept meant to align the interests of a company with its customers (Boulding et al., 2005). Its success depends on the appropriateness of the CRM strategy and its effective implementation. It is widely regarded as one of the most effective ways to facilitate development and expansion of customer base. Its mission targets customer loyalty and, ultimately, increased profitability.

Several researchers have apprehended this concept by developing scales proper to different contexts and areas (Reinartz et al., 2004; Sin et al., 2005; Roh et al., 2005; Lu & Shang, 2007; Agariya & Singh 2012a, 2013). Sin et al. (2005) found that CRM is a multidimensional concept consisting of four main components namely: key customer orientation, CRM organization, knowledge management, and technology-based CRM. The table below summarizes the measurement scales developed in the literature.

Methodology

Research on measuring customer relationship management has been developed in different contexts and countries. …

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