A Critical Review Of Customer Knowledge

Topics: Sociology, Case study, Twitter Pages: 8 (1815 words) Published: December 19, 2014
Student Name: KAI ZHOU
Student Number: 140130706
Module Code: NBS8328
Module Title: International Management Practitioner
Assignment title: A critical review of Customer knowledge management via social media: the case of Starbucks Word Count: 1524
Submission Date: 15/11/2014

Review: Chua, A.Y. and Banerjee, S. (2013). ‘Customer knowledge management via social media: the case of Starbucks’, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 17, Iss.2 pp. 237 – 249.

A great many corporations begin to realize the importance of using social media, which is a virtual platform that enables users to communicate with each others, obtain information and share information on the Internet (Boateng, 2014). It is an indispensable technology for customer knowledge management (CKM), which could be defined as ‘managing knowledge possessed by customers and knowledge about customers’ (Boateng, 2014). In this essay it will be argued that Chua and Banerjee's study of how social media can be applied to assist in customer knowledge management in Starbucks, a market leader in coffee industry. The study exerts qualitative case study and netnography on Starbucks as research methodology. It can be found in Chua and Banerjee's paper that Starbucks uses a great variety of social media instruments to enhance the brand awareness, increase the interaction with customers and give them a chance to exchange information and create value for the company. The paper refers to a plenty of advantages about CKM in company’s strategy, however, Chua and Banerjee do not write the potential stumbling blocks for CKM. Furthermore, the study of social media is not comprehensiveness reflect in lacking analysis of mobile phone marketing approach. Despite the paper weaknesses identified, in practice, the significant merits emerge in the process of case analysis. The methodology that Chua and Banerjee employed better analyzes the importance of social media in support of customer knowledge management. Moreover, the authors’ perfect analysis of the case is further support of their research. In fact, Starbucks has successfully applied the CKM strategy through social media such as Facebook, Twitter and MyStarbucksIdea. For these reasons, it is a excellent article as a whole, and I am relatively agree with the Chua and Banerjee's point of view and findings, although some aspects that they do not consider. The first flaw in the research design becomes evident in the lack of writing the potential obstacles for CKM. As noted in the study, there are multiple advantages when companies control and organize knowledge related to customers. In addition, Chua and Banerjee also sufficiently describe three CKM strategies that corporations use to manage customer knowledge ‘management of knowledge for customers, from customers and about customers.’(2013:238). They do not mention the disadvantages about CKM but ‘using social media for CKM is a challenge for organizations.’ (2013:238). It has been claimed by Gibbert et al (2002), effective use of CKM can make companies more competitive, but its potential stumbling blocks also should be considered. There are two primary stumbling blocks, for example, the challenge of culture and the challenge of competence (Gibbert et al., 2002). Cultural challenge and competency challenge are the most essential factors to affect the customer knowledge management for companies when they have already initiated the project. Culture is for the customers, competence is for manager. As a coin has two sides, while Chua and Banerjee outline the merits associated with these three strategies of CKM, they do not discuss the content against the possible adverse factors in the process of implementing the CKM project. Only a better understanding about the disadvantages of the customer knowledge management, corporations can maximize the use of this strategy and avoid the loss as far as possible. A further limitation in...

References: 1. Gibbert, M., Leibold, M. and Probst, G. (2002). Five Styles of Customer Knowledge Management, and How Smart Companies Use Them To Create Value. Great Britain; Elsevier Science. European Management Journal Vol. 20, No. 5, pp. 459–469.
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