Do you know your valuable customers?
September 20, 2013 Editor 0
Purpose – Customer knowledge has not yet been recognized as a possible source of strategic competitive advantage in expansion of the knowledge-based view. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to gain initial insights into the strategic dimension of customers knowledge in order to enable companies to define, identify and motivate the right customers and work with them together on a strategically successful level. Design/methodology/approach – The following single case study is based on semi-structured interviews with nine employees and strategic customers as well as a document analysis in an entrepreneurially oriented smaller firm equipped with limited resources. Findings – The findings demonstrate that strategic customers take on a valuable position within the company. It appears that the strategic customer is more aware of his/her value than the company itself. A definition and first criteria of strategic customers could be determined and a systematic identification of strategic customers is possible with the help of this study. Research limitations/implications – The paper is an empirical contribution to the existing customer knowledge management literature and aids in gaining further insight into the definition, identification and motivation of strategic customers. A definition is derived based on a literature study and developed further through the results of the empirical analysis. An additional result of the empirical study showed that customer oriented knowledge management is a promising bridge between the knowledge- and market-based view. Originality/value – The apparent lack of resources in entrepreneurially oriented smaller firms can be overcome through the addition of external knowledge resources, which the paper refers to as strategic customers.
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Categories: Knowledge Management
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