The relationship between social customer relationship management (CRM) and customer engagement: an exploratory study

Zainal, Nur Thara Atikah (2020) The relationship between social customer relationship management (CRM) and customer engagement: an exploratory study. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The proliferation of social media (SM) technologies is changing the way in which companies conduct their business. Customers utilize these technologies as a means of finding information about products, services or companies, in order to help them to make purchase decisions. For instance, customers are able to find reviews of products or services on blogs on Facebook and Twitter. These reviews can be positive, negative or neutral. The available information on social media is often considered to be coming from trustworthy sources of information compared to information provided by companies. Thus, customers are increasingly turning to social channels to seek information from trusted sources. For instance, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, which is a measure of trusted sources of information, 47% of the respondents surveyed in 2009 claimed to trust “a person like me” compared to 62% in 2014 (Edelman, 2014).

The emergence of social media has empowered customers, allowing them to express their opinions and feelings on social media. Customers also interact with firms on their own terms. Firms have no control over the conversations taking place between and among their customers, but less control those between the firm and its customers. To respond to these empowered customers, firms have integrated social media technologies and customer relationship management (CRM) to form a strategy called social CRM, which serves as a means of customer engagement (CE).

Social CRM and CE are both relatively new concepts (Greenberg, 2010). Although there is literature emerging in both fields, they so far remain separate concepts both conceptually and/or empirically. Therefore, this exploratory study aims to understand the concept of social CRM and answer the following three research questions, which guide the research process:

RQ1: What is a social CRM?

RQ2: What is the relationship between social CRM and CE?

RQ3: How do hotels practise social CRM?

The study employs qualitative research involving social CRM expert interviews and case studies to examine social CRM in the context of the Malaysian tourism industry. It adopts a processual approach for theory development based on a research design consisting of five stages: (i) pre-understanding, (ii) exploration of concepts, (iii) framework development, (iv) framework development and refinement, and (v) framework finalization (adopted from Payne, Storbacka, Frow and Knox, (2009), Roberts and Palmer (2012), and Frow, Nenonen, Payne and Storbacka (2015).

This study’s intended theoretical contribution is to help to advance our knowledge of social CRM and the relationship between social CRM and CE. The research contributes to the literatures on social CRM and CE by developing an empirically informed framework showing the dimensions and constituent parts for consideration when managing social CRM from the firm’s perspective.

In terms of the intended practical contribution, the research offers insights for managers into the role of social CRM in CE. Furthermore, they can apply a framework to their organisations to help enhance performance and competitive advantage. Finally, the research will help to advance knowledge about social CRM in the tourism industry context, which is particularly important for economic development in developing countries like Malaysia.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: McKechnie, Sally
Roberts, Deborah
Keywords: social customer relationship management, customer engagement, social media, tourism.
Subjects: H Social sciences > HF Commerce
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 60692
Depositing User: Zainal, Nur Thara Atikah
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2020 04:40
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 04:40

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