Ideas around the convergence and integration of value concepts and relationship marketing into what we term relationship value management are still at an evolutionary stage. We believe that over the next few years this will be an area of increasing interest. Given the nature of value and relationship value as concepts, there exist a number of opportunities for future research; five of these are identified. First, within the individual value streams there is a need for more empirical research. At present empirical work is not evenly developed across the nine core streams of literature we explored.
For example, the amount of empirical research undertaken within the customer satisfaction and service quality stream, especially in the work on SERVQUAL and PIMS, is considerable. This highlights how empirical research could further develop a number of the other value streams. Second, the importance of all relevant stakeholders needs to be considered. In particular, the concept of employee value needs further development. We have outlined above the considerable amount of work that has been undertaken in the areas of customer value and shareholder value.
Work needs to be undertaken to identify the core elements of employee value from two perspectives: the value of the employees to the organization as well as the value the organization delivers to employees. Such work should build upon the internal marketing literature and early work done on the value of employees by Reichheld (56-85). Equally, the role of other external stakeholders such as suppliers and alliance partners and influence markets needs to be explored. Third, further empirical research is needed to identify the relationships and linkages between multiple stakeholders.
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In particular, the linkages between employee, customer and shareholder value need to be developed further. Although some progress has recently been made through the service-profit chain research, much of the work to date has been based on correlation analysis without considerations of causality (with the exception of Rucci et al. , 152-169). Much work remains to be done in exploring causal relationships and understanding differences across a range of industries. This area represents a key opportunity for the development of more sophisticated value measures.
Fourth, further conceptual development and testing of the framework for relationship value management is required. The framework represents a first step in providing an integrative approach. In the future, it could be tested and refined by applying the framework using a number of organizations as case studies. Finally, more work needs to be done in the whole area of measurement and development of metrics around the value process, including the further development of specific tools for value measurement for each activity in the value process.
Although some measurement systems such as customer satisfaction and service quality already exist, a key aspect will be the development of a comprehensive integrated set of measures across the whole value process. We view this as one of the most important areas for future research. Limitations and Suggestions for Future Research The present study exhibits some limitations that should be noted. Firstly, female consumers were more willing to participate in the study and thus were slightly over-represented in the sample.
Secondly, the study was conducted in the context of the restaurant industry; hence generalisations of the findings beyond the restaurant industry and the study population should be made with caution. Furthermore, other intangible costs such as physical and psychic costs were not examined in this study. These costs are highly relevant in services that are complex and professional such as medical services and investment services. It would therefore be worthwhile in future studies to examine how these costs affect the purchase decisions of customers and their subsequent post-purchase evaluations.
References and Bibliography
Aaker, D. A. and R. Jacobson. `The Financial Information Content of Perceived Quality’, Journal of Marketing Research, 31(2), (1994) pp. 191-201. ABBOTT, R. & PERKINS, D. (1978) Development and construct validation of a set student rating of instruction items, Educational and Psychological Measurement, 38(4), pp. 1069-1075. Alford, B. L. and D. L. Sherrell. `The Role of Affect in Consumer Satisfaction Judgments of Credence-Based Services’, Journal of Business Research, 37(1), (1996) pp. 71-84. Anderson, E. and R. Oliver. `Perspectives on Behaviour-Based Versus Outcome-Based Salesforce Control Systems’, Journal of Marketing, 51(October), (1987) pp. 76-88.