CUSTOMER SERVICE, PRODUCT AND DISTRIBUTION STRATEGIES
To be successful in the long run , small firms must develop and maintain loyal customers, as it costs for more to replace than keep one.
There are three basic beliefs that forms the foundation of customer loyalty:
1. Superior customer service creates customer satisfaction
2. customer’s satisfaction produces customer loyalty
3. Small firms possess great potential for providing superior customer service
Failure to emphasis customer service jeopardizes the attainment of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
I. Components of Customer Satisfaction
According to Thomas Jones and W. Earl Sasser Jr., in an ...view middle of the document...
Just contacting them and showing them that you really care about getting their business will win them back – along with their contribution to your profits.
II. The customer service commitment:
Providing exceptional customer service can give small firms a competitive edge, regardless of the nature of the business. This they can do better than large firms.
Some of the things or practices that irritates customers include:
• Being kept waiting on the phone without assistance
• Being ignored by sales assistances
• Being kept on the line waiting when only one cash register is in use or the cashier calls for help and nobody comes
• Small businesses can easily manage these problems since they just need simply giving customers more attention and respect.
• Many types of customer services cost very little but superior levels of customer service do not come cheaply. These costs can be reflected in a product’s or service’s price or they can sometimes be scheduled separately, based on the amount of services requested. Most customers are willing to pay for good services.
III. Evaluating customer service:
The way customer service problems are most commonly recognized is through customer complaints. When complaints occur, they should be analyzed carefully to uncover possible weaknesses in customer service.
Customer service problems can also be identified through personal observation and other observation techniques. Talking to customers directly or playing the customer’s anonymously – for example by making a telephone outside business.
Understanding The Customer
Better understanding of consumers should lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
To fully understand customers, it is essential that entrepreneurs understand consumer decision-making process, psychological influence and sociological influences. This is greatly enhanced through learning of consumer behavior.
Simplified Model of Consumer Behavior
Stages In Consumer Decision Making
The model of consumer behavior views consumers a problem solvers. The decision making process comprises for four stages:
Stages 1: Problem Recognition
Occurs when a consumer realizes that her or his current states of affairs differs significantly from some ideal state.
A consumer must recognize a problem before purchase behavior can begin.: This stage cannot be avoided.
Firms must recognize this stage and should not jump it. Many factors influence consumers’ recognition of a problem:
1. Changes in financial status ( a job promotion with a salary increase)
2. Change in household characteristics
3. Normal depletion
4. Product or service performance
5. Past decisions
6. Availability of products.
Without recognition of this stage, it would be difficult to develop appropriate marketing strategy to use. There are situations where small business owners need to influence problem recognition. At other times, the businesses may simply need to react to...