Relationship marketing is no longer a new buzz word, and obviously it’s here to stay. It’s all about looking at your customers and your relationship with them in a new light. Rather than develop a product or service and market it to the customers, relationship marketers think about what the customers want and adapt their product development strategy accordingly.
It’s about customization to meet the needs of the individual. Relationship marketing is based on getting feedback and using it to develop and improve your service. In relationship marketing, feedback is sought before a complaint occurs. This helps to:
- Identify potential problem areas before the customer does
For many companies, it has become practice to encourage customers to provide such information via the website. You need good quality information if you are to have a two-way relationship with your customer.
Have customers changed? In a word – Yes!
- They are more demanding
- Have higher expectations
- Have a more pressurized lifestyle
- Want everything, but don’t necessarily want to pay for it
- Are less tolerant
- Want more for their money, time and effort
- Are much more aware of their rights – influenced by consumer rights programs
- Are driven by customer service issues in their own workplace
- Are more likely to seek recommendation from friends and colleagues than rely on advertising
- Are driven by new technology – particularly the internet
BUT – the key to supplier differentiation lies within these increased expectations, since customers now value closer links with efficient, competent suppliers who are willing to act as long term allies.