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Neo – Marketing concept – Customer Satisfaction.

November 6, 2010

Here is the glossary of basic terms which every person engaged in any kind of work related with marketing must remember.

Customer Value: Customer Value is the bundle of benefits a customer expects from a given product or service.

Customer Costs: It is more than monetary costs of a product. It includes toil & trouble of acquiring a product. It includes buyer’s anticipated time, energy and psychic costs.

Customer Satisfaction: Customer Satisfaction is the level of a person’s felt state resulting from comparing a product’s perceived performance in relation to a person’s expectation. It a function of difference between perceived performance and expectations.

Needs and wants of customer —-  Products —–  Value, costs & satisfaction —— Exchange transaction and  Relationship

Today the Industry has been able to devise methods to measure the level of Customer Satisfaction.

There are four methods of Tracking and measuring Customer Satisfaction.

1.     Complaints and Suggestion Systems.

2.     Customer Satisfaction surveys.

3.     Ghost Shipping.

4.     Last Customer Analysis.

Customer Satisfaction is lower in Industries where,

1.     Industry offers a Homogenous Product.

2.     Where repeat buyers face high switching costs.

3.     Increasing Market Share.

These are the basic concepts of the topic called Customer Satisfaction and Retention which the employees of all the companies engaged in Customer Care and BPO’s follow. And rightly so.

As in today’s fast changing marketing environment one must know and understand the physic of his Customer as our flow chart above indicates. We all are selfish people with selfish interest and bring out such emotions quite easily in front of others. We don’t care what and how other feels nor do we wish to know. Nor are we ashamed when our selfish motive is discovered by others. Either we laugh our way out or burst into seams of anger like an angry young or old man image.

This is dark side of Customer satisfaction. No matter how glamorous the industry try to portray this department and how much money they offer to these employees the truth is very different. The customer demands the moon like a spoilt child. And there is not a single expression of fear or nervousness or embarrassment when he puts such a selfish demand. It is true that there is little or no logic in marketing like in a love affair.

Who is responsible for spoiling the customer to such extent? We the marketing people of course. The people in industry. Of course we too had our selfish interest in spoiling the customer. The fat salary with even fatter commission cheques which we all cherish. Since every one wants to have his pound of flesh then why shouldn’t the creators of the customer.

It is true and we must accept the fact that in our quest to satisfy our customer we have created a Dinosorous like the one created in the movie Jurassic Park. And it also is true that sometimes or most of the times the customer behaves like the most feared Carnivorous T- Rex whose name used to send shiver in our spines.

“ The Customer is the King “. We have all read.  Now he is a Tyrant.

To blame every thing on the Marketers would be suicidal. Only an ignorant person or a fool would do that. As for the customer he is doing exactly what he is supposed to do. Bite more than he can chew. That is why he is regarded as customer. We all know the profile of the Customer is changing. He is an educated, self-respecting person, rich, shows Aristocratic tendencies, and is demanding. In short he knows what he wants and that is why he is here in the market.

The competition is the single major factor that has brought the Customer to such an advantageous Position. Now he is being offered more than he can chew.

Let us take an example Television. If I go to the market today I have to choose between at least 10 different companies with nearly same brand image. Then I have to choose between different brands of television from the same company within the price range they offer. Do you think that the marketers will allow me to just purchase a television and leave for my home like a rational customer would do?  No.

Now days a customer is offered a free bundle of goods like gifts, offers, price discounts, festive offers which generally has nothing to do with the product. Like a free DVD Player of the same company. Plus scratch a coupon card with sure prize ranging from a luxury car to a pen. Then an offer from the shopkeeper .In case I purchase during a festival time the offer is even more lucrative. All these offers are shown in advertisements to attract the customer.

This means that now I can get a 32 inch LCD television at budget of Rs 25,000 from a good company. I will be offered a DVD player worth Rs 4000-6000 absolutely free. Few free DVD‘s of latest movies worth Rs 1000. By just paying a fraction of normal subscription fees of Rs 4000, I am offered a dish antenna from a reputed dish antenna company with free installation service for at least a year. Then a small bargain from the side of customer worth few hundred Rupees from the side of the shopkeeper depending upon my bargaining skills. Then I am required to fill up a feed back form which has a number on it containing a special prize on a later date.

A 6 year Warranty card. A free after sales service for that period. That is peace of mind. Mailers would be sent to me from time to time for product up gradation at a very attractive exchange prize. And so on. Please visit the shop again sir!

All of it is offered to me on a plate where I was just expecting a normal 21 inch television. That is now I am offered much more than what I had ordered .That is what I have to chew much more than what I asked for in my plate. And that to at a price I never even dreamt of.

It is very common offer which we come across every day.  Furthermore many companies, especially the Internet marketing companies like Amazon, E-bay, Triple clicks offer much more in their Daily Auctions.

Imagine getting a Cello Phone of  NOKIA worth Rs 15,000 for Rs 5000 plus a free I-pod. Garments are now sold at throw away prices. Gold Ornaments, furniture have different sales promotion schemes. Now you can have a car free when you purchase a house.

Does it mean that is the end of it?  It is true that the customer is now happier and more satisfied than ever before in the history of marketing. Thanks to the rise in affluence and open market competition. Consumerism is the order of the day not only in developed markets of west but now in developing Asian markets like China and India. The development of Market and Marketing and Marketing tools owes its growth entirely to the free market in academics as well in the Industry. Today MBA in marketing is the most sought after course in Post Graduate Studies. It brings you the most highly paid and lucrative jobs in the Industry with salary ranging from 5 million to 1.5 million Indian Rupees annually in case you do your MBA from IIM‘s in India , Harvard Business school ,  Wharton which are the best Business schools in the world.

Marketing like any developing science is fast changing its form. Like science it is a slave to the mankind bringing us more comfort and happiness. Accompanied with Research & Development in applied Science it has brought to the common man’s footsteps comforts like luxury cars, Household items, and homes to live, food and beverages, fashion and so on which only aristocrats and very rich people used to possess.

More and more research is being done in Marketing to understand and satisfy the customer in the most exquisite way. Billions of dollars are behind spent on this research to understand the Customer Behavior, Customer Psychology,  Customer’s thought process of what goes on his mind , Customer needs and desires in both past , present and future tense . The customer’s Brain has become the most important focus point in the present day Marketing. Experts from different fields like Doctors, Engineers, Social scientists, Psychologists, Human relation experts, Management and marketing gurus and all are brought together on the common table to discuss how to attack this brain and milk out more money from it. Of course without disturbing the customer.

It is true that now a Customer has a confused state of mind. He always looks for the best deal for himself as he is a rational person. The problem is that he is not very sure of himself. The fear of being duped or purchasing an inferior quality product or not able to get the beat deal from the salesman as his next door neighbor was able to do, the reliability of the company or the goods purchased , the poor or no after sale service.  . This type of fear keeps on hitting the customer’s mind time and again and it engulfs the customer most at the point of purchase of the product. Of course the sales man and the owner is there to help him out and solve his queries. Overcoming the customer fear time and again is the most important task for any salesman worth his name and for a company if it has to survive in the market.  This is the most important step in the whole process of Customer Satisfaction and relationship management.

It is hard to tell what lies beyond Customer Satisfaction in the whole process of marketing cycle. It would be too early to say that this is the last stage in the whole Buying Process of marketing. But one thing is sure. It is a continuous and endless process especially in the service industry like insurance and health care. The Brain is the only organ in the human body that is receptive to the signals from the outside world through our five senses of sight, smell , taste , hear and touch as well as inside the human body through nervous system. It controls our thought process. It can be easily molded as we want through continuous advertisements on different media and directly through convincing skills of the salesmen. By manipulating this central controlling organ in the human being by different advance marketing methods, the industry is able to achieve its end in creating a demand for its product in the brain of the customer and later creating a sense of satisfaction for this product through after service in the most sophisticated manner.

This is like creating a Win-Win like situation in the mind of customer. He leaves the shop happily and satisfied. The only worry would come from the Competitors who would also be attacking the brain of customer to woo him to their side by the same methods. The task of customer satisfaction assumes importance by not letting the customer go to the other side of the fence. Losing a customer is the would be the biggest failure for the customer care department. All the effort and money to create and convince him goes to drain. It may also affect the Image of the company in the market. One may feel as bad as losing his Girl friend to his rival. The laughter and ridicule coming later on .Further more losing a customer after he buys the product but later switches to another company’s product  discarding it is as bad and painful as one losing his wife to other person.

The rapid development in Marketing owes its growth to our endeavor to satisfy the customer. So does the customer demand ? No demand can be created without knowing the customers’ need and wants. Only then we can satisfy the customer by creating that product.

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