The Disruptive Impact of Customer Engagement on the Business-to-Consumer Sales Force
Customer engagement (CE) reflects the increased ease with which business-to-consumers (B2C) customers can engage with firms and other customers outside of face-to-face interactions. However, increased customer engagement brings with it uncertainty regarding the future of B2C salespeople. Traditionally, salespeople have been a firm’s primary method of engaging customers, but with customers now entering sales interactions highly engaged, the question is, are B2C salespeople still needed? To explore this timely issue, a focus group is employed and themes are developed, which interestingly run counter to suggestions in the literature that salespeople should act as “knowledge brokers” to create value with their customers. In fact, the findings indicate that face-to-face interaction may actually impede, rather than create, value. The chapter concludes by presenting theory-based solutions to this problem.
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