Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Dissemination of Customer-Oriented Strategy to Customer Contact Service Employees: Application of Hartline, Maxham, and McKee (2000) Model in Indian Settings

Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Dissemination of Customer-Oriented Strategy to Customer Contact Service Employees: Application of Hartline, Maxham, and McKee (2000) Model in Indian Settings

Article excerpt

The importance of being customer-oriented is well-established in the marketing literature. However, customer-orientation can be effectively developed only when a firm designs necessary systems, processes, etc., to operationalize its customer-oriented values. For service firms, this effort depends on finding methods to disseminate the firm's customer-oriented values and beliefs in a way that inspires customer contact employees to remain customer-focused. To get insights, with a focus on Indian markets, the study was taken up to apply the Hartline, Maxham, and McKee (2000) model in the banking industry in India. With a few exceptions, most relationships have turned out to hold true. This leaves scope for some modifications in the model before its adoption. Specifically, the results highlight a number of factors that lead to development of customer-orientation among customer contact employees. Most important among them are work group socialization and organizational commitment of the employees. However, to promote them the companies will have to go for more empowerment of employees, with more emphasis on behavior-based evaluation. However, the authors warn companies to be cautious on the front of formalization in the organization.

To perform consisrently above normal, an organization must create and sustain a competitive advantage (Aaker 1989); and to do that it must create sustainable superior value for its customers (Aggarwal and Singh 2002). Creating superior value for customers requires that employees make continuous efforts to maximize customer delivered value. This becomes especially important for many service organizations where frontline employees are the first and the only representatives of service firms (for example, banking, hotels, etc.). Also, inherent characteristics of services like intangibility, inseparability, and heterogeneity lead customers to base their perceptions of service quality largely on the service received from the contact employees (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 1985). Therefore, it is crucial that frontline employees stay focused on the customer needs (Kelley 1992).

Many authors like Narver and Slater (1990), Jaworski and Kohli (1993), Homburg and Pflesser (2000), Brown and Colleagues (2002) emphasize the importance of customer-orientation for this purpose. Customer-oriented firms enjoy better performance, experience highest rates of returns on assets, higher customer retention rates, and human resource management skills (Narver and Slater 1990; Jaworski and Kohli 1993; Pulendran, Speed, and Widing 2000; Pettijohn, and Taylor 2002; Aggarwal and Singh 2003). In fact, customer-orientation can result into mutually beneficial long-term relationships with customers (Kelley 1992).

Deshpande, Parley, and Webster (1993) define customer-orientation as the set of beliefs that puts the customers' interests first, while not excluding those of all other stakeholders, in order to develop a long-term profitable organization. In this context, customer-orientation can be used interchangeably with market orientation (see Hartline, Maxham, and McKee 2000), which pertains to organizational culture that most effectively and efficiently creates the necessary behavior for the creation of superior value for buyers and thus a continuous superior performance for the business (Narver and Slater 1990).

Although many definitions of organizational culture have been proposed (for example, Kilman, Saxton, and Serpa 1985; Schein 1992), one of the most widely accepted definitions in marketing literature is provided by Deshpande and Webster (1989), who define organizational culture as the pattern of shared values and beliefs that helps people understand organizational functioning and thus provide norms for organizational behavior. Frontline, customer contact employees (that is, employees in direct contact with customers) who share the customer-oriented values of the firm (that is, they are customer-oriented) are more likely to exhibit behaviors that are consistent with those values and firm's customer-oriented strategy. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.