Hr and Customer Relations

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Words: 2651

Pages: 11

Category: Business and Industry

Date Submitted: 09/23/2011 09:45 AM

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Drawing on detailed qualitative case study evidence from four retail banking organisations, this article highlights the connections between customer relations strategy, the psychological contract and employee behaviour. The purpose of the research is to extend our understanding of the links between employees and customers by showing how this relationship evolves over time and by highlighting that a front-line employee's service orientation needs to be understood within the broader context of the employee's service experience. It is suggested that a better understanding of these connections could facilitate improved customer service standards and enhance the experiences of those working in service industries.

Keywords: customer; service climate; sales; psychological contract; strategy.

Increasingly, customer service staff are required to add a sales function to their core service role. Hairdressers, for example, no longer just style our hair and listen to our stories; they are required to sell us hair products. At the point where our hairdresser tells us we must buy this latest product to get the 'right look' the dynamic of the relationship shifts. This is because such active stimulation of demand highlights the previously hidden instrumental nature of the relationship and reminds both the customer and the hairdresser that the main aim of the game is for the firm to make money (Korczynski 2002). The requirement for employees to actively stimulate demand and encourage customers to make a purchase is likely to require a significant mind-shift for employees who have been recruited and trained to satisfy customer requirements and perform transactions without the immediate aim of making a sale. This article presents findings from in-depth case study research that explores how such shifts in customer relations strategy can impact on front-line service employees' attitudes and behaviours.

The purpose of this article is to highlight the importance of understanding...