Customer Management Leadership Group

Research on customer management has been promoted via the innovative, impact-focused Customer Management Leadership Group (CMLG).

The CMLG is a networking group of senior executives sharing a passion for achieving consistent and sustainable value for their organizations by aligning customer needs, stakeholders, partners, employees and suppliers. The aim of the group is the facilitation of researcher-practitioner member dialogue that will create and identify new knowledge and share best practice. The Group provides a blend of academic and practitioner input.

Our research

Three key research projects have provided the background to much of the CMLG activity.

  • Research between 1997 and 2001 provided a benchmarking measurement model for factors contributing to retention of customers. This research was developed subsequently over a number of years and compares understanding of key customer profitability analysis concepts between the disciplines of marketing and management accounting and found significant variation in application of key definitions.
  • An analysis on impact of service recovery on customer loyalty was developed following research conducted with Littlewoods, who sponsored three academic positions at Alliance MBS. Implications for customer management identified included the importance of communication/dialogue, the creation of trust and the right climate/ culture (across the whole organization) to respond with empathy to customer complaints and anticipate and innovate to respond to current and future customer needs.
  • Research on the impact of customer feedback on customer behaviour and the potential to create value from analysing feedback. Potential outcomes include the replacement of customer satisfaction surveys with automated rich text analysis.


The CMLG believes that to get best value for members a considerable degree of openness and willingness to share information and best practice is required. Accordingly, the group has been established to bring together a set of leading but non-competing organizations with an interest in customer management. Members include some of the world’s most renowned brands and organizations.

The mission of the Group is to support dialogue between members that will:

  • Identify and share best practice in customer management
  • Create new knowledge about customer management
  • Enable members to become leaders in customer management thinking and implementation

Examples of CMLG impact include:

  • The customer experience CMLG research project helped the Bank of America to develop their strategic approach to delivering positive customer experience. Subsequently Bank of America were awarded Best Customer Experience: Centre of the Year at the Customer Contact Association (CCA) Global Excellence Awards 2011.
  • A pilot project created to improve the experience of customers contacting Scottish Water more than once. The end result of this pilot was to identify a subset of customers with multiple contacts and to identify the key reasons for the contacts. This has led to resolution of customer issues and a further improvement in customer satisfaction.



  • Murphy, J.A., (2001) The Lifebelt: the Definitive Guide to Managing Customer Retention, Chichester, John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
  • Murphy, J.A., Burton, J., Gleaves, R. and Kitshoff, J. (2006) Converting Customer Value: From Retention to Profit, Chichester, John Wiley and Sons Ltd. ISBN 13 978-0-470-01634-3 (Rights also sold to a Russian publisher).

Journal papers:

  • Burton, J. and Khammash, M. (2010) “Why Do People Read Reviews Posted on Consumer Opinion Portals? Journal of Marketing Management, 26(3-4), March, pp.230-255.
  • Buttle, F. and Burton, J. (2002). “Does service failure influence customer loyalty?” Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 1(3), pp.217-227.
  • Gleaves, R., Burton, J., Kitshoff, J., Bates, K. and Whittington, M. (2008) “Accounting is from Mars, Marketing is from Venus: Establishing common ground for the concept of Customer Profitability”, Journal of Marketing Management, 24(7-8), pp.825-846. (ABS 3*) DOI: 10.1362/026725708X345533
  • Nasr, L., Burton, J., Gruber, T. and Kitshoff, J. (Forthcoming) “Exploring the impact of customer feedback on the well-being of service entities: A TSR perspective” Journal of Service Management
  • Ordenes, F. V., Theodoulidis, B., Burton, J., Gruber, T., & Zaki, M. (2014). Analyzing Customer Experience Feedback Using Text Mining A Linguistics-Based Approach. Journal of Service Research, 1094670514524625. (available at