Internet Technologies, ECRM Capabilities, and Performance Benefits for SMEs: An Exploratory Study

Paul Harrigan, Andreas Schroeder, Israr Qureshi, Yulin Fang, Patrick Ibbotson, Elaine Ramsey, and Darren Meister
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 15 Number 2, Winter 2010-11, pp. 7.

Abstract: Research on large firms suggests that dedicated customer relationship management (CRM) software applications play a critical role in creating and sustaining customer relationships. CRM is also of strategic importance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but most of them do not employ dedicated CRM software. Instead they use generic Internet-based technologies to manage customer relationships with electronic CRM (eCRM). There has been little research on the extent to which the use of generic Internet technologies contributes to SME performance. The present study fills the gap, building upon the literature on organizational capabilities, marketing, and SMEs to develop a research model with which to explore the relationships between generic Internet technologies, eCRM capabilities, and the resulting performance benefits in the SME context. A survey across 286 SMEs in Ireland finds strong empirical evidence in support of the hypotheses regarding these benefits. The study contributes to managerial decision making by showing how SMEs can use generic Internet technologies to advance their customer relationships and contributes to theory development by conceptualizing eCRM capabilities in an SME context.

Key Words and Phrases
: CRM, electronic customer relationship management, organizational capabilities, SME.