Vivek Dalela, Alexa M. Givan, Shiri D. Vivek, Kunal Banerji
October 2018 - March 2019
The Employee's Perspective Of Customer Relationships: A Typology
Customer relationships have been examined in great depth over the last few decades and researchers have focused on various aspects such as their formation, evolution, customer benefits, positive outcomes of relationships, etc. However, a disproportionate number of these studies have captured the customer perspective of these relationships. Given the critical role of boundary spanning employees in the execution of a relational marketing strategy, the authors argue that it is equally important to examine relationships from the perspective of the employees as well. Taking a grounded theory perspective, 12 employees from a variety of occupations and employed in both B2B and B2C settings were interviewed and a total of 51 relationships were examined by the authors. The findings identified five categories of customer relationships as perceived by employees: Forced Relationships, Business Acquaintances, Business Friendships, True Friendships, and Family-like Relationships. Implications of the findings for customers, employees, and firms are discussed.