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Customer portfolio management in service firms: a comparison of theory and practice

Speldekamp, Christiaan (2012) Customer portfolio management in service firms: a comparison of theory and practice.

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Abstract:Customer portfolio management can be of key importance to ensure profitability of the cus-tomer base in business-to-business relationships. Many customer portfolio approaches were conceptually developed for large and industrial firms that apply systematic customer manage-ment. However, scant research has empirically verified the practical use of portfolio models. This multiple case study of seven small firms in the search engine marketing sector primarily used exploratory interviews and secondarily company documents. The results lend support to the proposition that the complexity of the exchange and the fast-changing nature of the indus-try can influence customer management. More specifically, step-by-step or formal models for customer management − including the proposed criteria − are rarely applied and cover few issues that are relevant to service firms. Customer portfolio management is a highly context-dependent phenomenon in which informal methods are more important in highly complex service environments. The main practical implication is that formal systems can complement managerial judgment, in particular as the customer portfolio grows and more systems as well as procedures are required in the organization. Future research should investigate other ser-vice firms with varying types of services, while including several performance measures that can be related to the customer portfolio and the firm.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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