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The key to customer loyalty essay

marketing / customer / marketplace / loyalty / commitment

Essay Topic:

The evaluation of the major components which are vital for future customer satisfaction.

Essay Questions:

How has marketing changed the modern business strategy?

How is marketing help to satisfy the customer’s needs?

How does customer loyalty affect the general sales?

Thesis Statement:

True customer satisfaction builds customer loyalty. Every company needs to perform an advantage that will attract he customer and establish healthy loyal customer-oriented business relations.

 

The key to customer loyalty essay

 

Table of contents:

1. Introduction

2. Measuring “customer satisfaction”

3. Components of customer satisfaction

4. Customer loyalty

5. Customer service commitment

6. Conclusion

1. Introduction

Marketing has become an integral part of the contemporary world. It has completely changed the industry of “selling and buying goods”. Marketing is often understood as "the process of planning and executing the pricing, promotion, and distribution of goods, ideas, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals” [2]. The phrase “satisfy individuals” implies that that the main goal of marketing is to satisfy the needs of the customers, therefore it is a completely customer-centered process. If we analyze the process of customer satisfaction as the key direction of marketing we will come to the conclusion that it leads to an achievement of a high priority– the optimization of the organization’s functioning in the marketplace. The customers evaluate the activity of a given enterprise and this evaluation represents the level of customer satisfaction. In terms of customer satisfaction and all its peculiarities it is interesting to note that each company has a definite customer-type, which requires a definite marketing strategy. The customer is the driving force of the modern market and the he has a verdict to every single good he faces and very often this verdict is completely dependent on the introduction of appropriate customer satisfaction techniques. True customer satisfaction builds customer loyalty. Every company needs to perform an advantage that will attract he customer and establish healthy loyal customer-oriented business relations. Here, we view customer satisfaction not as a business term but as an active model of business success and as the possible achievement of mutual “profit”.

2. Measuring “customer satisfaction”

Why is every company so much interested in the process of customer satisfaction? The answer is rather simple – the customer purchases the good or in other words gives monetary equivalent of the good he chooses. The more customers purchase – the better is for the company, as its capital growth. Therefore the growth of the number of customers is vital for each company. As the level of satisfaction differs from customer to customer it is important to for each company to have specific components of customer satisfaction in order to achieve a mass satisfaction result. Proper components are the premises of customers purchasing from a company and repeating their purchase decision over again, as customer satisfaction and loyalty are the direct reflections of the brand loyalty factors, certain emotional drivers or other external reasons. Measuring the level of customer’s satisfaction is rather hard and the results may be sufficiently spontaneous. Customer satisfaction constantly needs a target to be aimed at, because the “requirements” of the contemporary customer change from day to day. Customer satisfaction is not a today company’s “project”, but a “project” with tomorrow customer’s needs prognosis. Ordinarily the “satisfaction” information is obtained by he means of either telephone or an internet-survey. It must be noted that these two ways of obtaining information are the major marketing prognosis sources. Such surveys are rather accurate and reveal the customer loyalty of each given company. Customer satisfaction measurements help the companies build their customer-strategies based on the strengths and the weak spots of each good that prevents it from obtaining high level of customer’s satisfaction and loyalty. Vulnerability of the customer’s loyalty revealed on the early stages of satisfaction measurements helps to replace a good to a more corresponding market position. Tracking customer’s loyalty has one other important element which is the knowledge of what customers think about the brand, the brand’s specific product and results in a correct marketing strategy decision-making.

Some companies consider only one way of building customer loyalty – through analyzing customer complaints. The major problem of this method is that it actually does measure the “moment” of dissatisfaction and not the general disappointment and absence of satisfaction over the whole brand or product. The reality of this method is that it concentrates on the customer’s complaint only. Ordinarily, a customer has a real complaint only in the case when his dissatisfaction is so weighty that no other way may be seen as an appropriate. As the matter of fact, contemporary customers do not have enough time to write or tell a complaint to the brand-managers; therefore the management-staff will consider the satisfaction-loyalty situation to be normal while the brand has already lost the majority of its clients. So, basically saying not complaints, but a suggestion can be viewed as a trustful satisfaction-level source . Contemporary customers will not waste time making complaints but will rather look for an alternative product supplier.

As it has been mentioned above phone and online surveys are two of the most widespread satisfaction-surveys, nevertheless there are some other quantitative survey methods such as mail surveys (rating the supplier or the product itself). Another important issue to mention is that it is not sufficient to gather information from one area only once, but do it repeatedly. This provides high level of problem-areas accuracy. Global and effective branding strategy programs require satisfaction-level information repeated over time in order to make correct customer satisfaction and loyalty evaluations. Generally, customer satisfaction measurement is a tool of a highest priority for creating requirements to new brand products that will deserve high customer loyalty.

So, customer satisfaction measurement makes the companies answer a vital business question: “How do we know that our customer is indeed satisfied?”.

 

3. Components of customer satisfaction

The most advanced type of customer satisfaction is the model of actionable customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction consists of various components. Each of them is vital to the proper functioning of the whole brand-system: customer decision drivers, opportunities and needs, customer satisfaction competitive profile, customer loyalty growth and actions directed towards the realization of the 100% customer satisfaction. Customer decision drivers – is a competitive research that reveals how customers make purchase and repeat purchase decisions. The company through a detailed exploration of a given product tries to understand purchase factors that eventually influences customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Opportunities and needs– is the process of choosing additional “tools” of affecting the level of customer’s satisfaction. The tool is obtained through the analysis of the customer’s needs and the result has to be a perfect solution satisfying both of the sides. Customer satisfaction also includes the evaluation of possible needs and changing competitive factors. Customer satisfaction competitive profile – this profile includes the present level of customer satisfaction in the current market and also the level of the product’s correspondence to the current technologies and innovations. In other words, it clearly identifies the customer satisfaction position of the company.

Customer loyalty growth – the company views the customer satisfaction and loyalty as the target of the highest priority. It sets the goals for the company’s future. Actions – it is a number, a collection of methods used to enhance customer loyalty. Ordinarily it is a collection of forward-thinking actions with high potential in the future.

4. Customer loyalty

“It takes a lot less money to increase your retention of current customers than to find new ones-but I know I don’t give it as much effort as I should because it does take a lot of energy and effort!”[3]. A professional customer loyalty approach requires a strict planned strategy. This should be taken as a priority! The problem is that the efforts put in building customer loyalty without a directed plan are not as effective as they could have been with a strategy and a plan. There is a rather strong opposition between finding new customers and creating a loyal customer base with the existing ones. Old customers with a high level of customer loyalty will come back over and over again and bring new clients with them, for a good business recommendation is priceless nowadays.

There are four primary factors influencing the opportunity of a brand to build customer loyalty: 1) a product needs to differ greatly from the ones offered by other companies, 2) the price is not expected to be the main buying reason,3)each product needs to have a highly competitive service as a component,4)each customer needs to be offered more than just one suitable product.

The market of a brand should be oriented on its own customers and create a market specifically for them. This is primarily due to the fact that existing (current) customers are eligible for becoming perfect “material” for customer loyalty. Nevertheless this is just only one aspect of this phenomenon. When a person buys a new car many companies always try to sell an extended warranty, a new alarm system and other advantages along with the car. This is a perfect example of the implementation of additional products and services that create a high customer loyalty. A customer is being offered a “package” of services at once and this makes him feel emotionally attached to the supplier of all these services. Such positive emotional attachment is a strong force in building customer loyalty. If a company knows that the car already needs san annual technical examination it is a good step to send a remained by mail that the car can be fixed specifically in this place and no other one. A customer does not have to think where to take his car - he already knows he will go to that specific place, because they DO CARE and are good service suppliers. If a customer comes to a sale today there is nothing wrong to invite him for the next sale and by this let him know that he is a valuable customer and is always welcome.

In the paragraphs above we have discussed the disadvantages on trying to evaluate customer satisfaction through complains. People do not have time and desire to come and complaint, instead they complain to everyone they know. This is the reason the store starts loosing its clients and realizes it when it is too late. A satisfaction questionnaire would be just appropriate for the elimination of such unpleasant consequences. The company has always to know what is wrong with the product and especially with the service. For instance, if such a questionnaire is send to the customer right after some sale his answers directed to the management of the company will prevent him from spreading a bad reputation for the brand. In such cases those customers who had an opportunity to share their complaint were the ones that repeatedly came back to purchase the brand’s products. And the reason for that is they felt the company DID CARE! Special attention should be given to technical, service, or customer support, because these are the services that each customer faces after the purchase when some trouble occurs. The customer under no condition should feel that the only company’s goal was to sell the product. Responsibility and respect from services supplied by the brand – do matter!

Another vital aspect of building customer loyalty is having constant contact with the current clients. Christmas cards and notifications of changed telephone number or address, a call will be a terrific support for the customer loyalty. Newsletters, company’s media clips, free seminars, sales, new opportunities and helpful information would help too. They key point here is to show them that you are there to help them or in simple words you reach out for them. Company’s accomplishments also crate a wonderful base for building customer loyalty. The more loyal the brand is to the customer the higher is the customer loyalty. The last aspect to mention is the level of personal loyalty of the employees of the company. Employees are the face of the company and they are the ones who represent the company through the interactions with the customers. It is especially important for brand to have a constant unchangeable staff - this gives the sense of the company’s stability and prosperity. Employees should in the first place make an accent on the attitude to the customers. The customer’s confidence in the fact that he will be welcome in the company even if he is not purchase anything today increase the opportunity of him purchasing more than one product tomorrow. Building customer loyalty is vital to any brand and the key element of a successful achievement of this goal is attention, responsibility and respect.

5. Customer service commitment

Each customer no matter how big or small is his purchase requires prom and very loyal treatment. The goal of each brand should be to absolutely satisfy all the demands of each customer during the interaction. And though this is not always possible, still the efforts will never be left without a positive result. The customer should never be made to wait for a long time and therefore given a message that he is not important to the company. Any information should be provided to the customer at his very first request. If it is either an internet request, a telephone call or a person-to-person interaction the customer needs to be confident in the fact that the employee of the company is ready and eager to help him no matter how small is his problem or question.

The customer has to always have the option of expressing his dissatisfaction with the company’s product or service. The customer service supervisor is a necessary company’s representative that is supposed to be an expert in customer-related issues. In order to build customer loyalty and have customer satisfaction at the highest level any company is expected to show dedication to the customer and working up to the highest possible standard. The company should be able to satisfy all the customers’ requirements concerning any sphere of the company’s functioning. The staff should be able to answer all the customer’s queries and to be at his service 24 hours a day, seven day a week.

6. Conclusion

So, why is customer satisfaction so important in the business world and why every company should find the key to build customer loyalty? Each company produces products for a concrete type of customers. And these customers are the ones who “switch on” the company’s mechanism in the marketplace. Customers are the ones that help the company survive in a number of competing companies. Basically the true reason of the company’s concentration on the customer satisfaction and building customer loyalty is primary due to the fact that the customer is the one that will purchase the company’s products. So every company works in the direction of retaining the current customers and increasing the number of potential customers. Customer satisfaction implies that the process of customer’s decision making will be under the control of excellent product and service provided by a given company. Among multiple alternatives a satisfied customer will always come back and bring potential customers with him. It is common knowledge that marketing deals with the components of customer satisfaction and customer service commitment and at the same time is the key tool used to achieve the most successful business states. Well, customer satisfaction and loyalty is the primary condition for any company with high ambitions and plans. Commitment to customers is the key to the door of becoming he most prosperous company in the world and not just a little business.

Bibliography:

1. http://www.powerdecisions.com/customer-satisfaction-loyalty-research.cfm/Marketing Research Applications: Customer Satisfaction Research Surveys /Power Decisions Group, Inc. Feb 2006

3. Marketing - Basic Marketing.Customer Loyalty - 2001-2003 BusinessTown.com

4. Terry G., Ph.D. Vavra "Improving your measurement of customer satisfaction a guide to creating, conducting, analyzing, and reporting customer satisfaction measurement programs "/ ASQ Quality Press/ 1997.

5. Jeffrey Gitomer "Customer satisfaction is worthless, customer loyalty is priceless : how to make customers love you, keep them coming back and tell everyone they know"/Bard Press/ 1998

6. Michael D. Johnson, Anders Gustafsson "Improving customer satisfaction, loyalty, and profit :an integrated measurement and management system"/Jossey-Bass/ 2000.

7. Philip Kotler, Gary Armstrong "Principles of Marketing"/Prentice Hall/ 2005.

8. Al Ries, Jack Trout "The 22 immutable laws of marketing : exposed and explained by the world’s two"/ Collins/1994.

9. Jay Conrad Levinson "Guerrilla marketing : secrets for making big profits from your small business"/Houghton Mifflin/ 1998.

“If our customers are unhappy we'll soon know about it” said management. Well, they didn’t at least not until it was too late and they had lost 90% of their customers. Yes 90%.”

 

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