Research Methodologies on M&S


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Submission 1: Research Design Proposal

TITLE: “To examine the importance of customer service in enhancing sales of business”. A case study on M&S

Chapter 1: Introduction

Customer service is a term that reflects either purchasing or promoting products of an enterprise. It consists a set of policies which govern how a firm make interaction with clients, way to greet them and handle their complaints for a particular product. Since success of business and service delivered to customers are considered as co-related with each other. Therefore, it is necessary for organizations to concern more on way to deliver best services at marketplace because well established brands shows how effectively a firm serve its customers. As per increase in competition, companies are now focusing to hire right employees at workplace, who are capable to provide effective service to customers and handle their problems as well.

Meaning of customer service may vary with nature of business in which a company deals with, that indirectly shows brand value. It assists people to purchase services from a well established enterprise and satisfy their desires. A brilliant example in this section is M&S, which deals in retailing sector. It is one of the branded retailer company of UK which offer a wide range of trendy clothes, home products and some luxury eatables like Salmon, Beef, Cake, Sandwiches etc. With the help of latest technologies like CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software, Bar Code Scanning, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and more, this enterprise has made the shopping experience more easier for customers. It has near about 979 stores in world where everything is driven by technology and skilled staff to serve best services to customers on time.

This research is mainly focusing on the importance of customer service and its role in business. It provides various benefits to a company in increasing sales performance and brand value. For this evaluation, different views of various authors and writers are taken. Moreover, main purpose of present research is to examine the concept of service related to customers and factors which aid a firm in retaining consumers. This would help in obtaining positive outcomes for success of business. In terms of academic and practical perspective, research on customer service is quite interested because it provides a key to a successful business. Moreover, this project also shows ways to convert unhappiness of customers into happy by treated them fairly and appreciated by business.

Aims: “To examine the importance of customer service in enhancing sales of business”. A case study on M&S

Research Objectives:

  • To examine the concept of customer service
  • To determine the factors which help in retaining satisfied customers
  • To analyze the importance of customer service in enhancing sales of M&S

Research Questions:

  • How to examine the concept of customer service?
  • What are the factors that help in retaining satisfied customers?
  • What is the importance of customer service in enhancing sales of M&S?

Chapter 2: Research Methodologies

Research methodology is a specific procedure or technique to identify, select, process and analyze information about a topic. In a research study, methodology section allows investigator to critically evaluate a study's overall validity and reliability. It is a systematic way to solve a specific problem and how research is to be carried out. Essentially,  procedures by which researchers go about their work of describing, explaining and predicting phenomena are called research methodology. Its aim is to give work plan of research. It is necessary for a researcher to design a methodology for the problem chosen.

Research Approach:

Discussion of research approach is a vital part of any scientific study regardless of research area. It includes plan and procedure for conducting a research that span a steps from broad assumptions to detail methods of data collection, analysis and interpretation. Research approach can be divided into two main aspects, that are- Deductive and inductive research approach, as explained below:-

Deductive Research: It is an approach of research that starts with proposition of hypothesis and end result of research is confirmation/rejection. It is mostly concerned with testing an existing theory which generally start with hypothesis. So, researchers are also bound to alter direction of study. This theory also is generally focused with testing an existing theory based on a large sample of data. Therefore, depth analysis is not possible to be attained under this approach. Moreover, in deductive approach, some specific aim has to be accomplished so, it is highly structures as compared to inductive research.

Inductive Research: It is an approach to research that starts with observation and end result of research is THEORY. It is concerned with building a new concept. It does not have any place for hypothesis. So, researcher is free to alter direction of study. As this type of research approaches are associated with qualitative therefore, project makers have to follow up specific set of rules. Along with this, inductive research is mostly appropriate for small business projects which provide more scrutinized information about the subject matter. Under this approach, depth analysis is possible related to a particular topic having a small sample.

Research Methods:

It refers to a tool use to conduct a research on certain topic. It includes various methods like qualitative, quantitative and mixed where a project maker can choose as per purpose of research. Concept of these methods can be explained in following manner:-

Qualitative Research: It is a method of research that develops understanding on human and science, to find a way people think and feel. This is one which provides insights and understanding of a problem setting. This type of research includes unstructured and exploratory method that studies highly complex phenomena that are impossible to explain with quantitative research. Although, it generates idea or hypothesis for quantitative research. This is used to gain an in-depth understanding of human behaviour, experience, attitude, intention and motivation on basis of observation and interpretation, to find out way people think and feel. This is an exploratory and follows a subjective approach as researcher is intimately involved. This is based on purposive sampling, where a small sample size is selected with a view to get a thorough understanding of targeting concept. Non-structured techniques like In-depth interview, group discussion are most common method of collecting data.

Quantitative Research: It is a form of research that relies on a method of natural science, which produce numerical data and hard facts. This aims at establishing cause and effect relationship between two variables by using mathematical, computational and statistical methods. Data collected by researcher can be divided into categories or put into rank or can be measured in terms of unit of measurement. A main purpose of quantitative research is to examine cause and effect relationship between variables. Graphs and tables of raw data can be constructed with a help of quantitative research, making it easier for a researcher to analyse results. Structured techniques such as survey, questionnaire and observation are most common methods of collecting data. This is result oriented research method. It recommends a final course of action.

Types of Data:

Primary Data: It is systematic investigation and study of material where various sources are available to conduct a research on a particular topic. It includes questionnaire, online and offline survey, face-to-face interviews, etc. where researchers are required to conduct survey by itself. So, primary research usually consumes much time and costs as compared to secondary research.

Secondary Data: This type of research obtain information which has been already been compiled,organised, and gathered by other authors or writers. Secondary data is generally used by government agencies, trade association and business organisations to obtain published data. As compared to the primary sources, this method gives faster data and consumes less money as well. But in terms of reliability, secondary methods sometime fails to obtain desired information in adequate manner. This type of research provide various sources such as articles, magazines, trade journals, books, newspapers and internet etc., where a researcher can collect desired information.

Data Sampling:

This is a technique by which statistical analysis is conducted by investigator. For this, data from population is collected by them to gain information about requirements of people. After this, manipulation and analyze are other tasks through which trends of market are identified. Sampling is process which aid data scientists, predictive modelers and data analysts to frame appropriate findings. For this, small and manageable amount of data is used to construct and run analytical models easily. Data sampling can also be defined as a tool to collect, operate and analyze data according to predetermined methods or procedures. Generally, population is large and sampling is used to collect accurate data from the huge population. In data sampling the cost of collecting data is low and it is faster than analysing whole population. Sampling represents entire population and it must be drawn randomly. Some steps are involved in sampling data. For this, one has to choose the population for collection of data, specify group of people, define method i.e. random or non-random method, identify sample size and at the end implement the plan to collect data.

These are two types of data sampling which are stated below:

Probability:  It is a sampling method in which a random selection of people are done by investigator. For this, some procedure is used to assure that all units in population get equal chance of getting selected. Simple, stratified, systematic, cluster, multi- stage are various random sampling techniques which are chosen by people in according to time and funds availability. This helps individual to collect data at good amount and reliable, as certain pattern is followed. Thus, this increases probability that results are accurate.

Non-Probability: This is another sampling tool in which the researcher selects sample on basis of subjective judgment. In this, all people of the population are not given chance of getting part in the study. This helps researcher in execution of exploratory study that is pilot survey in which smaller size is taken for survey. This method effectiveness depend on investigator expertise and interest. Convenience, consecutive, quota, judgmental, snowball are various techniques by which number of people are selected on basis defined criteria.

Chapter-3 Data Analysis

 It is activity by which inspection, cleansing, transforming and modeling of data is done by researcher. Breaking of activities into smaller elements for evaluation of individual benefit them to assess data easily. This helps them to discover useful information through which appropriate conclusion and decision making is conducted easily. For this, there are different tools and techniques which are used by an individual for predicting and making interpretations on defined research topic. Table, graph, chart, correlation and many other tools are used by investigator to analyze collected data and solve analytical problems. Thus, these are techniques which help them to make accurate results.

Submission 2: Literature Review

A literature review is the most essential part of a project which helps in depth evaluation of a research. It provides information of particular subject according to different views of authors and writers. This part of research consists four main objectives that are- surveys; synthesizes, critically analyses and presents. The term surveys shows literature in a specific chosen area while synthesizes include information. Further, critically analyses obtained information which is gathered by finding gaps in current area, showing limitations in theoretical parts and formulating areas where further research will be conducted. Along with this, literature review provides a summary and explanation about current state of knowledge on a topic. For this process, information related to a subject can be gathered from academic books and journal articles.

The main purpose of literature review is that it provides a constructive analysis of research methodologies and approaches used for gathering information. It also highlights key findings, identifies gaps, inconsistencies and contraction in the literature as well. Moreover, perspective and focus of review and kinds of hypothesis made by project makers, will show what type of review they are writing.

Chapter 1: Introduction

The Concept of Customer Service

According to …, Customer service refers to a process for providing better services to the consumers before, after and during purchasing of products or services. In order to determine demand and desires of customers, a company can use many methods like face to face interaction, telephonic conversation, email chat, messaging etc. These methods helps in taking feedback and evaluating complaints related to a particular topic. Through this analysis, a firm can create modification in products or services so that retention of customers cab be gained for growth and success of business. As per views of …, customers play main role in company's success therefore, providing satisfied services to them is the main responsibility of enterprises.

Buyers generally judge value of companies on the basis of services, they provide at the marketplace. Therefore, it is important for organizations to provide higher level of services to them. Customer service depends upon the representatives who attend queries of unsatisfied purchasers. Thus, it is also important to hire skilled and customer focused employees who can satisfy problems of consumers by providing the best services to them.

According to …, Better customer relationship creates loyalty in people and retain their attention for long purpose. So, in context with M&S, which is a major British multinational company of UK, specializes in selling of clothing, home products and luxury food products. This company use product-centric culture approach where main focus on core customer values and listening to their actual expectations. There are three major customer targeted area in M&S- Product, shopping environment and service proposition. They had already identified their offering to the customer. M&S has adopted a strategy called “Our service style” consists of four elements : Be positive, Be determined, Take responsibility and Ownership as well as Be respectful. It largely focuses on hiring those employees who are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable so that support of them can be gained for providing best services to customers. The managers of M&S, mainly focusing on getting customer feedback, their opinion and views about services after selling them products. For this purpose, they use social media platform and other applications of internet. It will also help in determining best possible way to reach public for purpose of acquiring new base of customer, service feedback and product related queries. As per..., customer service is an art by which management create and maintain relations with existing and new buyers for effectiveness of firm. It is essential that people are provided accurate information about product, its features and benefits. This help them to make buyers loyal by providing them quality items and services. Besides this, mobile and social media are tools which are used seniors to maintain connection with customers. These techniques also aid manager to take feedback from about any issues and problems that are faced by buyers. This help company to have information about performance of system to make changes to provide effective services to people. Thus, firms are able to create good brand image and reputation in market. Customer service helps organization to give value to people which helps management in retain buyers for longer time. Management is able to make customers loyal which aid them in positioning firm superior than rival firms

Factors which Help in Retaining a Satisfied Customer

According to …, There are many factors present in business which influence customer retention. It includes accessibility, navigation, language, personalized, intuitions, deliver-ability and more. In evaluating the importance of customer services, these factors are important to study which have implications for organizational strategies and policies of business. Therefore, to gain retention of satisfied customers, it is necessary for M&S to create peaks in consumer experience, continue test email strategies and be passionate and engaged. As per views of …, managers of M&S are needed to ensure that people at marketplace are able to find as well as access its data more efficiently without any interruption. For this purpose, it must adopt effective channels for promoting and delivering products of company. This firm also requires to hire workers in customer service department who are able to make good interaction with consumers in their own languages. It will help in identifying problems related to products and what type of services they want to acquire.

According to …, it has evaluated that if website of a company is difficult to navigate then this will lead to arise frustration in customers. Therefore, it is necessary for M&S to provide navigation and browsing stores as well as it should be simple and straightforward process also. It will help shoppers to easily get solutions related to their problems and help them in finding their desirable products. Thus, this process aid M&S to gain potential of customers. Moreover, it has analyzed that low cost initiatives can delight customers and build loyalty in them for a long way. Therefore, M&S must find milestones in customer relationship and ways for rewarding shoppers. It includes provide monthly gifts to old customers, special discount, vouchers and more.

According to perceptions of …, it has evaluated that behavior of customers are mostly fluctuated with different-different price strategies. So, it is also an essential factor under retention of satisfied customer. Under this factor, it is necessary for managers of M&S to analyze customers' behavior while developing price strategy. Similarly, they must be responsive to needs of people as well as proactive in bringing ideas to provide satisfactory services to customers. The other key areas or factors for getting satisfaction of loyal customers are- deal with complaints and maintain brand reputation. As per views of …, it has evaluated that one of the best things a company can do is to leverage negative feedback. It will help in analyzing in which area, services provided by business proves ineffective and where modifications are required to be done. Along with this, offer apologies and convince shoppers that such problems will not arise in future, helps  in bringing loyalty in them. Further, another factor where M&S is required to concern is to maintain brand reputation. It is the main responsibility of marketing department of this company is to determine need of customers and provide them services accordingly. Marketers need to search process by which they can make trouble journey for customers and aid them to gain good experience while purchasing their products. Moreover, by engaging with users and aware them about ethical culture of business like where company makes investment in CRM activities, help in enhancing brand value in their minds. Brands which value shoppers satisfaction and happiness, are also considered as superior for a company. It reflects how brand of an enterprise deals with customers' complaints and speaks volume about business. The way a company respond to customers and efficiencies with resolving queries of them also shows brand value.

Importance of Customer Service in Enhancing Sales of M&S

According to Karen Puckett, it has been seen that at the initial stage Marks and Spencer's main aim was to open more and more stores across the world for the purpose of improving sales of the company. Further, organisation have realized that increasing number does not influences sales of company as customer purchases only those products which can give them huge level of satisfaction. In relation to this, M&S focuses have developed it focus on improving its customer services for the main purpose of increasing sales and profitability of company. For this, the organisation is now focusing on providing effective post product purchase service to the customers which helps them in building positive relationship with the customers for long term. In this regard, management team of the company also focuses on minimizing cost of the products as products of this brand are quite expensive and impacts negatively on the purchasing power of the customers. As a result, it now influences purchasing power of the customer and directly increases sales of company.

As per the view point of …, it is essential for M&S to focus on customer services enhancing sales of the company as it is directly related with profitability and future growth. The company is focusing on retaining its customers by providing the best quality product which will satisfy them for long duration of time. Along with this, employees of M&S are trained on regular interval which helps them to produce effective product and also contributes in maintaining positive relation with the customers. As a result, it also helps the organisation by providing best services to the customer while their purchase this will enhance their satisfaction level. Hence it results in enhancement in the sales of the M&S. Top management of the company is also focusing on producing the products on the basis of requirement of the customers. Marketing team of the company conducts various surveys which helps in understanding latest trend and requirement of customer. This helps in controlling wastage in the company's manufacturing department as customers products are produced according to customers requirement only. Therefore, customer of the M&S purchases products frequently which minimises wastage at stores.

According to the..., it can be said that customers services are most essential part of the company as it directly influences sales and profitability. It is essential for the firm to find improve its customers services which helps them in retaining customer's for longer period of time. For this, organisation should focus on improving skill of employees which are required to be based customer satisfaction. This will help in convincing footfall of customers in the stores. These skilled employees will help in attracting the customer to buy product which are available at store. Hence sales of the company will be directly improved as customers are influenced the employees. This leads to increase in sales of M&S and also contributes in the growth of company in monetary terms.

Chapter 3: Conclusion

From the above mentioned literature review, it has been analyses that it consist various authors views and opinion towards the particular subject and areas as well. With the help of this researcher can easily evaluate overall information about the topic and also take final decision. Mainly, it is relate with secondary method of research because a researcher includes different witters views and opinion to carry out the study. Along with this, consumer services are the main topic of literature through which researcher can easily gather relevant data and information. Consumer services are played a vital role in enhancing overall sales of the company. Various factors such as accessibility, navigation, language, personalized, intuitions, deliver-ability are also discussed in literature as it help in improving the chances of attaining positive experience of the customers. For attaining success at marker place, Marks and Spencer needs to serve as well as deliver quality products and services to its target customers with the aim of attaining loyalty customers. This will directly contribute in making brand image competitive in front of customers.

As per above discussion, customer service is an art by which management create and maintain relations with existing and new buyers for effectiveness of firm. It is essential that people are provided accurate information about product, its features and benefits. This help them to make buyers loyal by providing them quality items and services. Besides this, mobile and social media are tools which are used seniors to maintain connection with customers. These techniques also aid manager to take feedback from about any issues and problems that are faced by buyers. This help company to have information about performance of system to make changes to provide effective services to people. Thus, firms are able to create good brand image and reputation in market.

Benefits of customer services: Customer service helps organisation to give value to people which helps management in retain buyers for longer time. Management is able to make customers loyal which aid them in positioning firm superior than rival firmsan be concluded that customers services is not only relate with making customers happy but also relate with increasing profitability level. This will contribute in promoting business activities in effective manner. Thus, company needs to evaluate as well as understand customers needs and wants before serving them services. As it may contribute in success at market place.


Books and Journals

  • Batt. R., 2002. Managing customer services: Human resource practices, quit rates, and sales growth. Academy of management Journal.45(3). pp587-597.
  • Zeithaml. V.A., 2000. Service quality, profitability, and the economic worth of customers: Journal of the academy of marketing science. 28(1) pp67-85.
  • Ahearne. M., 2005.An empirical examination of the influence of leadership empowerment behaviour on customer satisfaction and performance.Journal of Applied psychology. 90(5). p945.
  • Parasuraman, A., 1998. Customer service in business-to-business markets: Journal of business & industrial marketing. 13(5). pp 309-321.
  • Saxe. R., 1982. The SOCO scale: A measure of the customer orientation of salespeople. Journal of marketing research. pp343-351.
  • Cretu. A.E., 2007. The influence of brand image and company reputation where manufacturers market to small firms: A customer value perspective. Industrial marketing management. 36(2). pp230-240.
  • Jones. E., 2003. Firm market orientation and salesperson customer orientation:Journal of business research. 56(4). pp323-340.
  • Reynolds. K.E., 1999. Customer benefits and company consequences of customer-salesperson relationships in retailing. Journal of personal selling. 75. pp11-13.
  • Ittner. C.D., 1998. An analysis of customer satisfaction. Journal of accounting research. 36.pp1-35.
  • Parvatiyar. A., 2001. Customer relationship management: Emerging practice, process, and discipline. Journal of Economic & Social Research. 3(2).
  • Wilson. A., 2012.Services marketing: Integrating customer focus across the firm(No. 2nd Eu).  McGraw Hill.
  • Kim. A.J., 2012. An empirical study of luxury fashion brand. Journal of Business Research. 65(10). pp1480-1486.
  • Agnihotri. R., 2016. Social media: Influencing customer satisfaction in B2B sales.Industrial Marketing Management. 53. pp172-180.
  • Dabholkar. P.A., 2015. How to improve perceived service quality by increasing customer participation. In Proceedings of the 1990 academy of marketing science (AMS) annual conference.  pp 483-487.
  • Rodriguez. M., 2012. Social media's influence on business-to-business sales performance. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management. 32(3). pp 365-378.
  • Ryu. K., 2012. The influence of the quality of the physical environment, food, and service on restaurant image, customer perceived value, customer satisfaction, and behavioral intentions. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 24(2). pp 200-223.
  • Kastalli. I.V., 2013. Servitization: Disentangling the impact of service business model innovation on manufacturing firm performance. Journal of Operations Management. 31(4). pp 169-180.
  • Trainor. K.J., 2014. Social media technology usage and customer relationship performance: A capabilities-based examination of social CRM. Journal of Business Research. 67(6). pp 1201-1208.
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