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A holistic framework to embed good company practice for customer retention

McCrory, Barbara; Pilcher, Nick; McMillan, Janice



Purpose: To detail a holistic practice based guiding framework for improving customer retention, which helps companies instil a customer service culture through encouraging them to concentrate on the three key areas of culture, continuous improvement and customer service.
Design/methodology/approach: The Delphi technique, using 3 rounds of hour long in-depth semi-structured interviews at director level across a range of industries. This was done with 9 directors, totalling over 30 hours of data requiring in excess of 200 hours to transcribe.
Findings: In order to achieve customer retention, a holistic company approach underpinned by senior management buy-in is critical, with open communication, employee empowerment, and employing ‘the right’ personnel. The framework is viable with specific organisation input and supplementation with ongoing customer research.
Research limitations/implications: The framework has only been tested with the companies in the study, and requires testing in practice. As such, it has not covered the ability of companies to change, but has simply developed a framework to assist in identifying the areas that need to be reviewed when considering changing to focus on the customer.
Practical implications: To use this approach to customer retention requires companies to amalgamate culture, customer service and continuous improvement equally alongside customer focused leadership, as an underpinning for the ethos of the business.
Originality/value: The Delphi technique in an in-depth systemised approach with directors revealed unanticipated and significant insights regarding the benefits of amalgamating and devoting equal weight to the three areas of culture, customer service and continuous improvement to improve quality in all these areas


McCrory, B., Pilcher, N., & McMillan, J. (2017). A holistic framework to embed good company practice for customer retention. The TQM magazine, 29(2), 257-275.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 22, 2016
Publication Date 2017
Deposit Date Aug 30, 2016
Publicly Available Date Dec 31, 2017
Journal TQM JOurnal
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 2
Pages 257-275
Keywords Customer Service, Customer retention, Continuous Improvement, Organizational Culture, Delphi technique,
Public URL


A holistic framework to embed good company practice for customer retention. (2 Mb)

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