by Scott A. Neslin, Dhruv Grewal, Robert Leghorn, Venkatesh Shankar, Marije L. Teerling, Jacquelyn S. Thomas, and Peter C. Verhoef
This article was published in Journal of Service Research, 9 (November 2006), 95-112.
Multichannel customer management is the design, deployment, coordination, and evaluation of channels through which firms and customers interact, with the goal of enhancing customer value through effective customer acquisition, retention, and development. The authors identify five major challenges practitioners must address to manage the multichannel environment more effectively: (1) data integration, (2) understanding consumer behavior, (3) channel evaluation, (4) allocation of resources across channels, and (5) coordination of channel strategies. The authors also propose a framework that shows the linkages among these challenges, and provides a means to conceptualize the field of multichannel customer management. A review of academic research reveals that this field has experienced significant research growth, but the growth has not been distributed evenly across the five major challenges. The authors discuss what has been learned to date, and identify emerging generalizations as appropriate. They conclude with a summary of where the research-generated knowledge base stands on several issues pertaining to the five challenges.