Factors affecting customer relationship management practices in Thai academic libraries
This study investigates and analyzes the factors affecting customer relationship management (CRM) practices in Thai academic libraries. The research conceptual framework focuses on factors affecting CRM practices was developed using Combe (2004)’s study on assessing CRM strategies. Mixed methods, qualitative, and quantitative approaches were used as a research methodology. Data was collected by using the interview and survey techniques with the administrators, staff and customers of six selected academic libraries in Thailand. Analysis of the data was done by using Pearson’s correlation coefficient, factor analysis, and multiple regression analysis. The results of the study show that factors that have statistically significant impact on CRM practices in Thai academic libraries at 0.05 level were: (1) the knowledge and understanding of CRM of library staff and leadership of library administrators (Beta = 0.762), (2) organizational culture and communication (Beta = 0.323), (3) customer management processes (Beta = 0.318), (4) technology for supporting customer management (Beta = 0.208), and (5) channels for library services and communications (Beta = 0.150). The knowledge and understanding of CRM of library staff and leadership of library administrators which include the perception and awareness of service quality focusing on customer relationship is a key to library success. Important factors also include the acceptance and support of the use of CRM in the library, the clear vision and mission about using CRM in the library strategic plan, the knowledge and understanding of library staff on CRM processes, customer characteristics, and behaviors. The organizational culture and communication factors involve the creation of the CRM cultures of working in the library, good teamwork, cooperative and clear working agreements, clear roles and responsibilities, good communication between library staff, cross library functional integration, and performance evaluation and development. The customer management processes factor includes recording and registration of customer profiles, customer analysis and classification, services to individual customers, services to expected customers, and continual customer interactions. The technology for supporting CRM factors includes communication technology, information technology, and operations support technology. The channels for library services and communications factors can be direct channels, such as a service counter and self-circulation service, and indirect channels such as telephone, call center, email, personal web, library web, and social networking technology. Suggestions for academic libraries on the development and implementation of CRM in libraries are: (1) CRM must be included in the library strategic plan; (2) CRM must be a key strategy for the improvement of library service quality; (3) library administrators must have strong leadership for achieving the effectiveness of CRM practices in the library; (4) library staff must have good knowledge and understanding of CRM and its link to the library service quality improvement; (5) the working cultures for CRM effectiveness such as teamwork, cross functional work, and good communication between staff must be encouraged and practiced in the library; and (6) technology must be fully supported for CRM in the library.