The institution where I work, the Faculty of Business at Oxford Brookes University, has a thriving doctoral programme, including studentship opportunities. If you are considering a doctoral degree, do take a look at the research topics available.
I can supervise 1-2 doctoral students who wish to research any of the topics below.
Bad customer behaviour and its management
Customer relationship management assumes that customers differ in their needs and in the value that they generate for the organisation. Bad customers, in particular, can be very costly for the firms – e.g., as a result of damage to property, fraudulent claims, unjustified complaints, stress for customer facing employees or the undermining of other customers’ experiences.
Despite the recognised negative consequences of bad customer behaviour, this remains an under-researched topic in marketing. The research gap is particularly evident concerning how service firms actually deal with dysfunctional customers. In addition to the strategic, technical and organisation barriers that the implementation of differentiated marketing approaches usually encounter, the management of bad customers also needs to accommodate the dynamic and subjective nature of bad customer behaviour.
The researcher will investigate the characteristics of bad customer behaviour and the issues around the identification and management of undesirable customers. The project may consider one aspect of customer behaviour – e.g. unjustified complaints – and examine it across a variety of industries. Alternatively, the project can focus on industry – e.g. financial services – and consider all instances of undesirable customer behaviour.
Opportunities and challenges of digital customer data in marketing
One of the appeals of digital technology is that it can generate and share data seamlessly. Data repositories, data sensors and open data contain records about individuals, about their behaviours and about their relationships to each other and to products. This data is freely available, it is abundant and it is widely varied.
Digital data represents valuable opportunities for marketers – from customer insight, to targeted marketing initiatives and opportunities for customer service. However, there are challenges, too. For instance, there are cognitive challenges associated with data flooding in real-time; technical challenges resulting from the diversity of format and type; and user-related challenges such as privacy concerns or deceptive behaviours.
There are numerous opportunities for research into the opportunities and the complexities of using these new types of customer data in marketing. Research proposals can focus on the marketing information systems that collect and handle this data or, alternatively, on the impact of such data in marketing management.
In order to be considered for a PhD with us, you need to have a good honours degree as well as a good master’s degree at merit level or above that includes a thesis component. Having said that, the panel also considers strong applicants that do not meet these exact requirements but have equivalent experience – for instance, who have worked in research for some time and have written outputs.
For further information about the doctoral programme or the application process check Business School’s website here.
Feel free to contact me for informal enquiries and further information about either project.