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Customer-perceived value in business-to-business relationships: A study of software customers

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Despite the importance of relationships in business-to-business (B2B) contexts, there is limited research as to what customers expect and value from relationships in industrial contexts. This study, therefore, seeks to understand customer-perceived value better by investigating actual and prospective customers in the software industry. A two-level analysis of customer perspectives on relationship attributes was conducted. First, semi-structured interviews were conducted with customers of a micro software firm. Insights from these interviews were then used to inform the second stage of the study, an online survey using Adaptive Conjoint Analysis, to identify the relative significance of these attributes. A total of 256 industrial buyers completed the survey. A new Customer Relationship Attributes Model (CRAM) is presented which encapsulates major attributes that current and prospective customers consider when entering into a relationship with their software supplier. The CRAM identifies five product-related attributes (price, functionality, bilingual capability, location, and software quality), and seven service-related attributes (communication, understanding of the customer, trust, relationship, service, professionalism, and employee expertise).

Keywords: Adaptive Conjoint Analysis; SMEs; business-to-business; customer-perceived value; software technology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Bangor University, UK 2: Manchester Metropolitan University, UK 3: Scottish Agricultural College, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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