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Original Article Classifying customers on the basis of their attitudes towards telemarketing
Received (in revised form): 13th July 2009 Ankit Mehrotra is a full-time faculty member at Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow in the area of Information Technology. With a PhD from the University of Lucknow in the area of Supply Chain Management and Information Technology, his teaching career spans over 8 years. His areas of interest include Data Mining, MIS and Spreadsheet Application in Business and Logistics and Supply Chain Management. He has authored articles on Logistics, Supply Chain Management and Information Technology. He has been part of various MDPs, and has covered usage and penetration of Information Technology under various topics. Reeti Agarwal is a full-time faculty member in the area of Marketing at Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow. With a PhD from the University of Lucknow in the area of Consumer Behaviour, her teaching career spans over 9 years. Her areas of interest include CRM, Services Marketing, Retailing and Effective Communication Skills. Extensively involved in research, she has authored articles on CRM, Retailing and Household Buying Decision Making. She regularly conducts MDPs in the area of Interpersonal Communication Skills, Building Customer Relationship and so on. ABSTRACT Telemarketing belongs to a new breed of potent technology-driven business tools that have evolved in direct response to the changes in today ’ s business environment. Being rooted in a technological foundation, telemarketing offers fl exibility, and simultaneously lowers the costs of reaching customers and meeting their needs. Compared to traditional marketing approaches, the telemarketing approach has been designed and developed for the contemporary business environment. Despite its advantages, focussing too much on this technology-driven approach without understanding customers ’attitudes and preferences for such an approach can lead to disastrous results for an organization. The article argues that telemarketing practices ought to be managed in accordance with customers ’attitudes towards such practices. The objective of the article is to use intelligent techniques such as Feature Selection and Classifi cation and Regression Techniques (C & RT) to classify customers according to their positive or negative attitudes towards telemarketing. The model thus arrived at may be used to better understand customer attitudes and accordingly target telemarketing efforts more successfully. Signifi cant determining variables that can help capture acceptance or non-acceptance of telemarketing channels by customers were identifi ed from the literature and focused group discussion. Likert scale responses were collected from a sample of 400 respondents using a structured questionnaire. The application of Feature Selection and C & RT resulted in the identifi cation of two segments of customers: Acceptors and Rejecters. The fi ndings also show that customers view telemarketing as an approach used by companies to sell their products ‘ any which way ’ , with lack of concern for customers ’choices and comfort. This study, by building a model to classify customers according to their positive or negative attitudes towards telemarketing, helps in reducing this disconnect between customers and the telemarketing approach being adopted by organizations.
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