When Consultants & Clients Clash

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Creating Customer Value
Customer Relationship Management

“When Consultants & Clients Clash”

1. At which stage of the relationship life-cycle would you position the business relationship between the Statler Group and the Kellogg-Champion Securities?

In order to elaborate and analyze this question, someone can base his opinion and his respective reasoning upon both the two models that we have discussed during the class. More specifically, we can position and perceive this specific relationship according to both “the five-stage evolution process” and “the relationship life-cycle” approaches.

Thus, through my personal perspective, if at first we depend on “the five-stage evolution process”, which seems to be kind of more point-specific and rather static or stable, – not in a negative concept, just with specific, clear starting and ending points- we can position the relationship between Statler and Kellogg-Champion at an early stage. The two companies had already entered the “threshold of relationship-building” but they seem to be at a premature level, where they are both trying to adjust and adapt to the new circumstances. Since the collaboration until now seems not to be going well, only if the two brands manage to overcome the present unpleasant situation that I will describe for the next question, the two brands will progress through the other formative stages, where their relationship will grow and become well-founded.

Thereinafter, through the second approach of “the relationship life-cycle” which in my eyes seems to be more dynamic, fluid and moving, the relationship between the two firms is a typical example of relationship that has just entered the exploration stage. It is again a matter of effective management, constructive communication and precise decision-making whether or not the two firms will manage to pass through this level with a positive outcome. Only when the two firms achieve to positively affect the commitment axis and gain higher levels of gratification, sharing and understanding, they will then succeed in entering the growth stage where they will mutually build and “foster” their relationship.

Unfortunately, at the present time, the two participants seem to experience the “cognitive dissonance” syndrome, where, as the corresponding theory suggest, both parties driven by a diffused lack of confidence and trust tend to quickly and constantly re-evaluate, re-confirm and re-doubt about the situation and its conditions.

2. What are the mistakes made by both sides?

It is clear and obvious that wrong and ineffective actions from both the two sides and in several perspectives, had resulted eventually in such an uncomfortable situation. Throughout the case, we can clearly observe several inappropriate or insufficient handling actions from both sides, whereas at the same time, the absence of the necessary “synergetic effect” among the participants it is obvious and widespread in this case.

On the first hand, the top management of the Kellogg-Champion firm seems to have pretending not to see the real and actual parameters, conditions and dimensions of the situation. Especially when informing and presenting the overall picture to the Statler consultants, the Kellogg-Champion side should be both more sincere and more enlightening. The initial information and statements by Royce

Kellogg -the CEO of the new joint company- and his salient disposition to make things appear simple, were by far not precise and effective. In situations like this, the part of combining, converging and unifying different cultures and different ways-to-do-things is essentially the most complex and difficult and not a simple and easy process as Royce Kellogg suggests.

At this point, we can observe that behind these misjudgments from the top management sides of the new merger, several deeper, more complex and...
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