Relationship Marketing in Practice

There is a realisation and understanding that Customer Retention is beneficial and rewarding than the efforts required in finding a new customer. Marketing managers can be successful only when they know how to build an interactive ongoing interaction with their customers. The scenarios of being in tune with the customer varies from business to business. In a B to C scenario, you may need to ensure that you set up a customer service department that oversees as well facilitates the sales and after sales process as well as engages with the end customer.

In cases where an end consumer is concerned, the chances of customer not being happy with the service is more due to the intermediaries and third party service providers used in delivering service to the end customer. In case of a bank, the delay in delivering a credit card to the customer by the courier company may hamper the relationship between the customer and the bank for the customer is likely to blame the bank and not the courier. In another instance a customer who buys an AC may have a hard time dealing with an external service agency that calls on him for installation. He is likely to be furious with the Company in this case. Therefore in B to C situations the Company would need to control and sensitize as well as manage the relationship with the service providers to be able to satisfy and engage in a healthy relationship with the end customer.

In case of B to B situation, the situation can be different. However it has to be understood by one and all in the Organization that it pays to understand and engage with the Business Customer’s end Customer. An Organization supplying parts to a Car Company that manufactures cars and sells to the consumer should engage through the Car maker, with the Car owner to understand his requirements and reactions in detail. If the component supplier does not engage directly with the customer and relies upon the feedback from the car maker, it is quite likely that the feedback is distorted and not adequate. In the long run such an attitude will not only help improve the quality of the car and build brand value, it helps increase the market as well. Both the component supplier Organization as well as the Car marker gets to benefit from engaging in Relationship management with the end customer.

Take the case of retail supermarkets that stock and sell items from hundreds of manufacturers. You will see the manufacturers engaging with customers on the floor trying to understand and gather their feedback. The manufacturers need to be able to focus on delivering goods to stock the super market in time. They have got to engage with the supermarket team to ensure that the items are received and sent to storage in time to be able to meet the customer demand. Besides they have got to engage with the end customer to get to know their experience with the product quality as well as the shopping experience. The customer is likely to hold negative impressions about the product if his shopping experience has been bad. Vice versa he is likely to avoid the supermarket in the future if he does not find the right product he has been looking for.

Engaging in Relationship Marketing is not only about engaging in customer service or making the customer happy. It involves positioning the company’s focus on building and extending an interactive relationship with the intermediaries as well as the end customer and tuning in to the customer’s current as well as anticipated needs and behaviour. A good Marketing Manager is he who is able to envision systems and processes to get closer to and build continuity with a customer by engaging with him in a long term relationship and in turn bring value to the Customer through his relationship with the Organization.


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