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Customer retention through the equal incorporation of continuous improvement(CI), culture and customer service

McCrory, Barbara



Customer retention has long been considered an important element in achieving competitive advantage for business organisations. The increasingly turbulent economic environment has brought this again to the fore for many organisations.
Through the development of a practice based guiding framework for the improvement of customer retention this study investigates the complex relationship between the concepts of customer service, continuous improvement and organisational culture across a variety of business sectors. Drawing from a systematic literature review,
initial links were made between the concept of using the 4P cycle of continuous improvement and the key elements of world class service as tools of understanding.
The main study involved the use of the Delphi technique, through which a qualitative and systemised approach to data gathering was achieved using semi-structured and structured interviews and utilising the findings from each set of interviews to inform
the following set of interviews. Three rounds of interviews took place with 9 industry experts across different sectors, with the investigation taking a director level review.
After the first two rounds of interviews the framework for customer retention was developed and introduced to the participants for evaluation before the final interview stage.
The findings from the study show that the proposed framework is a workable tool, however in order to fully benefit from its use, specific organisation contextualisation is required and should be supplemented by the gathering and utilisation of customer
research, the development of a holistic company approach to customer retention involving all organisational departments and the empowerment of employees. Further, the study shows that buy in is required from all senior management and that overall buy in would be aided by open communications within the business. Overall there was a consensus that employing the right person was vital to customer retention and ultimately the success of a company. The usefulness of the application of the practice based guiding framework, though beyond the scope of this study, was also addressed through the participants own use of some of the study findings within their current roles across a variety of business sectors.


McCrory, B. Customer retention through the equal incorporation of continuous improvement(CI), culture and customer service. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Oct 4, 2013
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Customer retention; competitive advantage; customer service;
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