It is clearly recognized that service providers often have an incomplete and fragmentary understanding of their customers' relationship behaviors. Although it is clear that this incomplete understanding has serious implications for customer relationship management, and might even constitute a strategic risk, there have been no explicit attempts to analyze the phenomenon. The authors therefore introduce and develop the concept of the blind spot as a metaphor referring to situations where a service provider’s visual field is obscured. The authors examine the phenomenon of blind spots in a temporal and a relational context, determine their consequences, and outline the implications for customer relationship management. A number of blind spot scenarios are presented in order to illustrate how blind spots obstruct the service provider’s ability to make correct interpretations of customer relationships, and thereby also correct estimations of relationship stability. The conceptualization of blind spots as outlined in this article sheds light on the underlying mechanisms that drive customer behavior in terms of relationship stability and hence offers a deeper understanding of the dynamic nature of customer relationships. From a managerial point of view, proper monitoring systems and routines for analyzing relevant customer information play essential roles in understanding and managing blind spots.
- 512 Business and Management
- Customers and Relations