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How to diagnose business-to-business relationships by mapping negative incidents

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Abstract:

Negative incidents mean adverse situations that are not anticipated and therefore catch customers' attention. Despite these incidents' significance for how relationships develop, they may remain hidden from the seller since they have not been captured with current customer understanding techniques. We suggest a new technique, labelled NIM (Negative Incident Mapping), which explores and maps negative incidents in business-to-business relationships. The key idea is that the seller's understanding of identifiable customers' concerns is compared with the customers' actual experiences. The technique combines qualitative and quantitative information and generates results on the incidents, single relationships, and customer portfolio. Empirical findings from two studies when generating the technique are presented in the article. The technique may be useful to account managers for managing individual relationships and the portfolio of relationships. It may inspire researchers to explore further negative incidents in business relationships, the effect of combined repeated incidents, and customer-understanding measurement.

Keywords: ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT; BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP; CUSTOMER UNDERSTANDING; DYADIC APPROACH; NEGATIVE INCIDENTS; NIM

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725708X306149

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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