Internal brand management in South African contact centers

Time: Wed 2020-03-25 08.30

Location: https://kth-se.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5QtfuCtpz8rMoeuiFizpsJf2LjQkjYvkQ, Stockholm (English)

Subject area: Business Studies Industrial Economics and Management

Doctoral student: Rose Du Preez , Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)

Opponent: Professor Pejvak Oghazi, Södertörn University

Supervisor: Associate Professor Terrence Brown, Industriell Marknadsföring och Entreprenörskap; Professor Emeritus Michael Bendixen, Nova Southeastern University

Abstract

Globally contact centers are ubiquitous in medium to large organizations operating in both B2B and B2C service industries. Frontline staff working in contact centers represent a major component of the way in which customers experience service organizations’ brands.

There is a paucity of research on marketing in contact centers. Internal brand management is acknowledged as being difficult to implement, this could be exacerbated if an organization outsources their contact center operations. This presents a research gap as contact centers represent an important medium through which customers experience a service brand.

The overall research question in this thesis is:

Are extant theoretical models for internal brand management applicable to frontline employees in contact centers?

The overall research question is subdivided into the following research questions:

RQ1: What are managers’ practices and experiences of internal brand management in contact centers?

RQ2:  Do current theoretical models of internal brand management adequately explain the behavioral consequences among frontline employees in contact centers?

RQ3: What are the implications of outsourcing contact centers for internal brand management?

The overall contribution of this thesis is that evidence indicates that extant theoretical models of internal brand management are not applicable to frontline employees in contact centers. Paper 1 reveals that managers are unfamiliar with the theoretical models and practices of internal brand management, furthermore, they face numerous barriers and obstacles with implementation. Paper 2 provides the first direct evidence of internal brand management affecting job satisfaction, and the inclusion of job satisfaction improves a theoretical internal brand management model. Paper 3 develops and tests a model which includes job satisfaction, and two behavioral consequences viz. intention to stay and brand citizenship behavior. This paper reveals that the drivers of internal brand management are organization-specific. Paper 4 demonstrates that the dominant experience of contact center outsourcing is negative, and organizations which outsource tend to lose control of internal brand management and the customers’ brand experience.

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