Managing Customer Relationships
Now, we know, to build up a proper place in the market and
meet the goals of one’s organization, it is absolutely mandatory
to identify and understand the customer or consumer. So
managing the customer relationship is of prime importance in the
field of marketing. In this lesson you will get to know how
customer relationship is managed.
3.1.2 Managing & Understanding Customers
There are different ways to understand customers better.
Firstly, one has to consider a customer’s point of view.
Secondly, one has to collect and scrutinize data to
understand customers buying behavior.
Thirdly, the customer can be directly asked about their
wants and demands.
Fourthly, one has to conduct customer satisfactory
surveys. Surveys like this gives one helpful information
about what customers think.
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Continual improvement in products or services is an
effective approach to maintain existing customers and
winning new ones.
However good the products or services may be, the customers
will not buy it if they don’t want it. And the supplier cannot
persuade anyone to buy what they are offering unless the
customer really wants it.
Every business needs to provide something unique to their
customers so that they buy from them and not from their
competitors. This is called Unique Sales Proposition (USP).
This USP can change with the market changes. USP can be more
effective if it is derived from customer’s buying decision. It is
very important to review USP regularly.
Know your customer
To provide good service to the customer, one must deliver what
he or she promises of. But good service to customer implies that
one must be able to anticipate the needs and exceed the
expectations of the customers. To understand the customers
well, one needs to be attentive and listen to the customers
whenever they are in contact with them. Positive words help the
supplier to increase customer loyalty and bring new business. To
sell directly to an individual, the supplier should find out the
customer’s age, occupation and gender. If the supplier has to sell
to other businesses, he has to find out what industry they are in,
for example, is it a private company or a big multinational
company? Knowing this can help the supplier to identify similar
industry that he can target. It is helpful for the supplier if they
know the occupation and interest of the customers. Knowing why
customers buy products or services is easier to match their need
which benefits the business.
If a supplier can approach the customer at the right time, it
hugely increases the chances of success on the part of the
supplier. If the supplier can make out how much money his
customers can afford and offers them products or services
accordingly, the supplier can make a better profit. It is important
for the supplier to understand what the customer expects from
him/her. And if he can meet the expectations of the customers
and do not disappoint them, the supplier can make good
business. Similarly, if the customers enjoy the hospitality and
feels satisfied dealing with the supplier they are likely to buy
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Also if the supplier can manage to know what the customers
think about their competitors they will stand a better chance to
stay ahead of their rivals.
Know your customer’s current supplier
It is beneficial for the supplier to know about his customers’
current supplier (if any). Before selling to a potential customer
one needs to know:
o Who is the customer’s current supplier?
o Whether the customer is happy with the current supplier or
o Whether it will benefit the customer if they buy from you?
And if so, what those benefits will be?
The simplest way to identify a customer’s current supplier is to
ask him /her directly. Generally customers do not hesitate to
offer this information and this gives one a good indication about
whether they are satisfied with the current arrangements or not.
One should find out what benefits or facilities the customers are
looking for. And if the supplier can manage to get this
information he stands a better chance to sell to them. The
benefits can be related to price, kind of service or facilities
Understanding Customer Expectation
The goal to meet customer expectations is extremely necessary
for proper customer service. Understanding customer
expectation is prerequisite for delivering superior services.
In today’s world we live in an era of impatience. Customers are
restless and do not want to wait for service. This is mainly
because of the numerous options available. Therefore the
supplier should be prompt while dealing with the customers.
Professionalism is another important aspect of customer
expectation. Customers usually want to deal with a professional
customer service representative who is knowledgeable about
products and services. Customers expect friendly behavior and
want to be treated respectfully and politely. The supplier should
always make a good first impression keeping in mind that good
customer service is determined by the customer.
Using data to Understand Customer
The database or Customer Relationship Management system
(CRM) keeps valuable information about the customers that
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helps the supplier to understand their needs. Customer
relationship management is a term given to methodologies or
software that helps a company to manage customer relationship
in an organized way. Investigating the data on the customers
helps a lot to make out when the customers typically makes
orders. The data also helps to analyze the performance of the
suppliers. Customer relationship management system is more
valuable than simple mailing system because they hold
important information about customer behavior and preferences.
It helps to identify customer needs more effectively. Good CRM
system can record all interactions between possible customers
and those actually buying.. One should always remember that in
many situations it is not just one person who makes the decision
to buy products in many cases more than one person is involved
in the buying decision. For example children influence their
parents. And in business markets, bigger the amount of the
product the more people gets involved in the decision. This is
called Decision Making Unit (DMU). CRM also helps to understand
this DMU. CRM system is hugely used because it decreases
overall costs and also increases profitability. One of the largest
drawbacks that CRM system faces is that it is not user friendly. It
becomes tough for the user to navigate because of its difficult
interface and complexity. But the biggest advantage of CRM
system is that it provides the business or company the ability to
create and manage the requests made by the customers.
Creating and scheduling appointments with customers is also
managed by CRM software. CRM system is a sort of a strategy
that places customers in a pivotal position for the organization.