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The Human Side of Marketing in a Deregulating Industry

- The Impact of Decision Styles on the Quality of Customer Relationships

Abstract

Communication and the resulting interpersonal relationship between people are vital parts of a business relationship. To manage this interpersonal relationship becomes especially important in selling services, where the quality of the product depends heavily on the interaction between the parties. This applies particularly to the service industries that, due to a monopolistic market, have not felt the need to permanently rethink their personal approach towards the individual customer. As these industries now face open markets, they recognise the need to redefine their market approach. Part of this reorientation is also the quality of personal attention awarded to certain customer relationships.

The question of how customer relationship quality can be influenced and predicted arises. The consequent problem of what makes a good versus bad interpersonal customer relationship, is the question that this thesis analyses and tries to give answers to. This is done by analysing 56 customer - seller relationships using the Dynamic Decision Style Model. The Decision Styles of the customers are estimated through reports by the concerned sales representatives. Questionnaires are used to determine the style of the interviewee. It is the purpose of the study to show to what extent and how Decision Styles can explain the difference in quality of such relationships. For this reason, the customer and seller styles are compared.

For the analysis of the comparison, five logics are developed each designed to generate a customer fit index. Throughout the sample, this index attests the ability of the Decision Style Model to predict the quality of customer relationships. While existing research presented models that evaluate a customer relationship after it has been established, this study introduces the application of the Decision Style Model for prediction of the outcome of potential customer relationships.

If industry is to apply the model in order to increase customer relationship quality, it needs to build special intelligence about the customer. Especially the deregulating businesses have a chance to build such a designated knowledge about the customer since they are fundamentally rebuilding their market approach.

The entire paper in PDF format.