Title: Exploring social customer relationship management in Australian small and medium enterprises

Authors: Kritcha Yawised; Nuttaneeya (Ann) Torugsa; Wayne O'Donohue

Addresses: School of Engineering and ICT, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 87, Hobart, Tasmania, 7001 Australia ' Australian Innovation Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 108, Hobart, Tasmania, 7001 Australia ' Department of Employment Relations and Human Resources Gold Coast campus, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia 4222

Abstract: Social customer relationship management (SCRM) is a new business concept and strategy that utilises and integrates social networking with 'traditional' CRM processes and strategies in order to bring about superior engagement with customers. There is a paucity of scholarly empirical research into SCRM in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This paper describes the first large-scale survey-based study in Australia that explores the role and nature of SCRM in SMEs. Using a sample of 967 Australian SMEs (comprising 540 SCRM adopters and 427 SCRM non-adopters) and employing both descriptive and simple inferential statistics, we investigate the current level of SCRM adoption, types of social networking sites used with SCRM, business objectives for SCRM engagement, methods of sourcing or implementing a SCRM system, SCRM implementation-related activities, as well as the benefits and barriers related to SCRM implementation. The study results reveal that SCRM adoption by Australian SMEs has been relatively ad hoc, superficial (even primitive) and usually not supported by a formal integrated strategy and policy framework. Although SMEs that have adopted SCRM did so with the expectation of benefits, particularly in terms of building brand and establishing customer loyalty/intention, the study shows that SCRM benefits are often not immediately apparent in the short term; the results also indicate that lack of time and knowledge of how to implement SCRM effectively are critical barriers to successful SCRM adoption by SMEs. Our findings suggest further research is needed in this area.

Keywords: small and medium enterprises; social customer relationship management; social networking; SCRM; SME.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGSB.2017.10011009

International Journal of Globalisation and Small Business, 2017 Vol.9 No.4, pp.222 - 251

Received: 04 Oct 2016
Accepted: 05 Apr 2017

Published online: 08 Feb 2018 *

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