Human vs. Machine: Exploring the Breadth and Implications of CRM Strategies (New)

Charles H. Noble, The University of Tennessee
W. Adam Powell, Shippensburg University
Sumin Han, The University of Tennessee
Stephanie Noble, The University of Tennessee

Despite the widespread adoption of customer relationship management technology and processes across most industries, many organizations report failure in implementation of their CRM strategy.  This study deepens our understanding of these complex strategies by exploring the use of technology-based versus human-based customer relationship management processes using a relational information processing and capabilities framework.  Our analysis of a cross-section of approximately 250 firms provides a rich description of customer relationship management practices and outcomes.  The results indicate six fundamentally different approaches to CRM strategy, with varying contextual descriptors and performance implications.  While the results suggest modest performance differences across clusters, our supplemental analysis reveals key success factors within clusters.  The picture that emerges is that firms may be more likely to pursue a certain CRM strategy based on their industry and contextual environment but there are certain levers that can be used to achieve differential advantages within each of those groups.  We suggest implications for managers interested in improving their CRM performance and establish a richer theoretical base for understanding customer-based relational phenomena.


Currently under journal revision.