Managing customer relationships: Should managers really focus on the long term?
Researchers and business thought leaders have emphasized that, towards maximizing the lifetime value of customers, firms must manage customer relationships for the long term. In contrast to this recommendation, we demonstrate that firm profits in competitive environments are maximized when managers focus on the short term with respect to their customers. Intuitively, while a long term focus yields more loyal customers, it sharpens short term competition to gain and keep customers to such an extent that overall firm profits are lower than when managers focus on the short term. Further, a short term focus continues to deliver higher profits even when customer loyalty yields a higher share-of-wallet or reduced costs of service from the perspective of the firm. Intuitively, while such revenue enhancement or cost reduction effects enhance the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, they lead to even more intense competition to gain and keep customers in the short term. These findings suggest that the competitive implications of a switch to a long term customer focus must be carefully examined before such a switch is advocated or implemented. Paradoxically, customer lifetime value may be maximized when managers focus on the short term.
|Date of creation:||24 May 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: IESE Business School, Av Pearson 21, 08034 Barcelona, SPAIN|
Web page: http://www.iese.edu/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Paul Klemperer, 1989. "Price Wars Caused by Switching Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 405-420.
- Joseph Farrell and Carl Shapiro., 1988.
"Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs,"
Economics Working Papers
8865, University of California at Berkeley.
- A. M. McGahan & Pankaj Ghemawat, 1994. "Competition to Retain Customers," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 13(2), pages 165-176.
- Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-59, September.
- Greg Shaffer & Z. John Zhang, 1995. "Competitive Coupon Targeting," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(4), pages 395-416.
- Beggs, Alan & Klemperer, Paul, 1990.
"Multi-Period Competition with Switching Costs,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
436, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Greg Shaffer & Z. John Zhang, 2002. "Competitive One-to-One Promotions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(9), pages 1143-1160, September.
- Yuxin Chen & Chakravarthi Narasimhan & Z. John Zhang, 2001. "Individual Marketing with Imperfect Targetability," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(1), pages 23-41, November.
- Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ebg:iesewp:d-0560. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Noelia Romero)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.