The high rate of competition, and quick collapse of small businesses, has necessitated the shift from transaction orientation to relationship marketing. Business is a going concern, and if a firm must continue to remain in business, it is important that it considers relationship marketing as a strategic tool for creating and retaining customers. Achieving longevity in business is largely dependent on customer-service provider's relationship with their major stakeholders - CUSTOMERS.
Globalization of various markets and competition, has caused a major shift from short term sales and transaction orientation to relationship marketing. Relationship marketing helps businesses to generate repeat repurchases through providing good quality customer service. It recognizes the long term value of customer relationships through building trust and exchanging information that is beneficial to both parties. Although it means different things to different people, it is often considered as the process of attracting, maintaining and enhancing relationships with customers and stakeholders at a profit. It is used to build enduring relationship with customers, however, it is important that a firm that wants to deplore a successful relationship marketing programme should channel its efforts to customers who have a relational orientation, and at the same time know factors that consumers consider important in their regular interaction with the business.
Research studies have consistently identified some relationship marketing elements that consumers consider more important than others. Some of them are:
This is the reliablity and beliefs that you will perform your duties as expected without negative surprises. It is a state of mutual honesty and confidence that customers have in your product or business. Such trust can only be built on the platform of shared or similar values. You can't earn the trust of your customers when your values are different from theirs.
This is the psychological attachment of your customers to your business or product. How far can you go to give your customers that experience money can not buy. This is your involvement in seeing that a customer gets what he wants. Customers want to see that you are dedicated to serving them.
Support and Cooperation
This includes all activities that are mutually beneficial to the business and its customers. Your customers need your support and cooperation in attaining that satisfaction level as well as your business needs them.
In this era of intense competition, creating, maintaining and enhancing long-term relationship with customers has become the basis for building successful businesses. To make this relationship work, a business owner must know what the customers expect, and in what order.
Have you asked your customers what is most important to them in your business relationship?