Purpose - The main objective of this paper is to empirically investigate the linkage among organizational customer orientation, customer relationship practices, and organizational outcomes. Design/methodology/approach - The sampling frame of the study consists of 143,000 Chinese companies, each with revenue of more than 5 million RMB (Chinese currency). The target companies were randomly selected from 29 Chinese provinces using the stratified probability proportional to sizes (PPS) method. Structure equation modelling was utilized to analyze data. Findings - It is found that organizational customer orientation affects customer relationship practices, which subsequently influence production performance and customer satisfaction. Production performance and customer satisfaction lead to financial performance. Research limitations/implications - The study has some limitations that provide directions for future research. Data were only collected from China. Therefore, the research findings might reflect unique aspects of Chinese companies. Caution should be exercised when generalizing these research findings to other nations. The study also focused only on manufacturing firms' customer focus practices. Practical implications - Companies need to promote customer orientation in their organization, in order to successfully implement customer relationship practices. Only when they effectively utilize the knowledge that they collect to improve production performance can they enhance customer satisfaction and their financial outcomes. Originality/value - The paper maintains that customer focus practices should consist of two elements: organizational customer orientation and customer relationship practices. This offers new directions to researchers and practitioners for improving customer focus practices.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1108/02656710910950351
Journal International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management
Citation
Cai, S. (2009). The importance of customer focus for organizational performance: A study of Chinese companies. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 26(4), 369–379. doi:10.1108/02656710910950351