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COM 597, Fall 2011 – Reading Guide Questions for September 21

For Sias (2009):

Like I said in the e-mail, this is a densely packed chapter so take your time with it.  It's not hard reading, but there's a lot of stuff packed in a small space.

1. We haven't overtly talked about this yet.  What is the practical distinction between a customer and a clients?  Does the distinction she offers help?  What else is different that she doesn't explicitly discuss?

2. And how about customer relations v. customer relationships?  Customer relationships v. other workplace relationships?  What are the practical implications of these distinctions?

3. What is relationship marketing?  What instrumental purpose is it supposed to serve?  What links do you see between relationship marketing as discussed in this section and the notions we've discussed of communication competence and multiple goals in communication?  And how exactly does relationship marketing differ from more traditional notions of marketing?

4. a) What are the dimensions of customer relationship strength?  Describe in your own words the four types of customer relationships.  What examples of each are you familiar with?  Explain each of the four primary norms of customer relationships.  Why would each of these make a difference in the quality of the relationship.  b) For those of you who have taken a class in personal relationships, how do these differ from and how are the similar to related concepts you've studied in the personal relationships context?

5. a) What did McGovern find makes a difference in consultant-client relationships?  Williams on customer orientation?  What distinctions and similarities do you see between the two that accounts for the difference between customers and clients?  b) Is Jap's research on the stages of a customer relationship consistent with your own experience?  How about Lovett et al's research on the impact of turnover?  c) What is uniquely useful about Mills & Moshavi's elements of professional concern?  Are Metcalf, et al's conclusions consistent with what you've learned about communication?  What differences do you see in the studies about substance abuse counselors and home health caregivers compared to the studies of for-profit organizations?  And what does Vaugn and Stamps's critical study of a battered women's shelter emphasize that none of the other studies do?  What lessons might a for-profit organization take from this?

6. How does organizational climate impact customer relationships?  What examples do you have of the factors Martin and Bush identify as making a difference?  And what difference do cultural factors make on customer relationships?

7. What exactly is customer relationship management?  What different types of info are gathered?  What makes each necessary?  How can the info be used to strengthen the customer relationship?  How might an organization misuse it?

8. Which findings in the section on "Outcomes and Consequences of Customer Relationships" are surprising?  Which are what you'd expect?

9. What did I miss in this reading that we should talk about?  Please don't say "nothin'!"


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