Managing the Dilemma of Matching Customer Expectations

by Sunanda K. Chavan on Thursday 6 January 2011, 4:49 PM | Category: Marketing| View: 1207 views
 
 
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Managing the Dilemma of Matching Customer Expectations

 

 

Providing consistent & quality service to consumers to consumers gives you a competitive edge, it also requires an understanding of customer expectations and the types of expectations. Customers compare perceived quality of service with the expected quality of service while deciding the quality of service provided by the company. Possessing knowledge about customer perceptions and the factors like as service encounter, service evidence, image of the service organization, and price of the service on customer perceptions that influence consumers directly or indirectly should be taken into consideration. Encounters with the consumer whether it may be remote, face-to-face, and phone encounters should also be analyzed to understand customer perceptions.

Things that can be done to achieve good level of customer service are as follows

Provide the customer with detailed information about your product, because they want to have themselves updated info about the product.

When customer is confronted with problem, provide them with options that can help them chose a single solution from the n number of alternatives available to them; on the other hand consumers don't like or get dissatisfied when they are provided with a single option they have to choose.  

Don't make your consumers run from one service center to another for solving their queries. Provide them with a location that can help their queries solved at a single place.

Provide the customer with superior communication, even not the best but communication with excellence.

When no knowledge or information is available with them regards the product or which product can satisfy their specific need, counseling is what they look for and providing the same is the responsibility for the marketer.

The process of marketing research consists of six phases – defining the problem and the research objectives, selecting an appropriate scale to measure services, designing and implementing the research program, coding and tabulating data, interpreting and analyzing the research findings and reporting the findings. Unless the information collected from the market research is applied to solve problems or for other intended purposes, the time and efforts spent on research will become futile.

Market Segmentation in Services

Undifferentiated Marketing Approach

Differentiated Marketing Approach

Concentrated Marketing Approach

Bases for Market Segmentation

Demographic Segmentation

Geographic Segmentation

Psychographic Segmentation

Behaviorist Segmentation

Benefit Segmentation

Purchase Occasion Segmentation

User Status Segmentation

Usage Rate Segmentation

Loyalty Segmentation

Buyer Readiness and marketing Factors

Requirements for Effective Segmentation

Measurability

Accessibility

Substantiability

Action ability

Process of Market Segmentation

Identifying Customer Segments

Developing Measures for Structural Attractiveness

Selecting Customer Segments

Market Targeting in Services

On What Basis do Marketers Target the Identified Segments

Segment Size and Growth potential

Targeting Strategies

Mass Customization

What are the Factors that Companies Need to Consider Before Adopting Mass Customization

What are the Various Approaches to Mass Customization

Tips to exceed customer expectations

Empathize

Take ownership of the problem

Follow up

Treat customers fairly

Find a balance between business needs and customer needs

Try to become an expert in your field

Make recommendations

Ditch the script

Take time to reflect

Gaining a competitive advantage over a company to differentiate self from competitors based on the attributes that are important, distinct, communicable, superior, preemptive, affordable and profitable to the customers. Organizations should understand the customers ‘tendency to wait for longer periods depending on the value of the service and their irritability while waiting alone. Additionally, by adopting reservation systems, organizations can spread the demand equally across peak and slack periods. While planning to exceed expectations of customers the marketing mix should be considered, because inadequacy of the 4 P's can cost you more.  Focusing on the service level Service Product Level

The Core Product

The Actual Product

The Augmented Product

The Potential Product

Can also make you better in your field.    

Things helping you getting better

Generation of Ideas

Screening

Testing the Concept

Business Analysis and Design of Service

Test Marketing

Infrastructure Development

Service Launch

Marketers should try to earn profits at each stage - launch, growth, and maturity stages, and should decide on discontinuing a particular product/service if it reaches the decline stage. However, a company might also choose to reposition the product at this stage.

They can also enter into long term contracts. They can also opt for price bundling in order to develop their relations with their customers. A company can also adopt efficiency based pricing to offer the maximum value to their customers. Finally, the factors that influence the prices of services should be studied carefully.

The factors that need careful consideration are:

Which Services to Promote

Who would be the Target Customer

What would be the Value Added to the Product/Brand

Is the Timing Right for Promotion and how long should a Promotional Campaign be Run

Who is Benefited from the Promotions

How to Differentiate a Promotional Campaign

You can't manage expectations without communication. In fact, you can't manage anything without communication. Communication being the crux of everything needs to manage effectively to a great extent.

If expressed as a calculation, customer satisfaction might look something like this:

Customer Satisfaction =                    Your Performance / Customer Expectations

If your customers' satisfaction level is changing, there might be some reasons for the same, which needs to be found, either at their end or yours, to affect their expectations or perceptions. The required mix of speed, quality, and price for optimizing business operations is required & also for assuring that these correspond closely to your customers' expectations. Arrange both you and your customers' responsibilities and rights sequentially.

 

The five dimensions of service

Tangibles

visually attractive parking areas and building exteriors

visually attractive dining area

staff members who are clean, neat, and appropriately dressed

décor in keeping with its image and price range

menu that is easily readable

attractive menu that reflects the restaurant's image

dining area that is comfortable and easy to move around in

rest rooms that are thoroughly clean

comfortable seats in the dining room

Reliability

serve in the time promised

quickly correct anything that is wrong

be dependable and consistent

provide an accurate guest check

serve food exactly as ordered

Responsiveness

employees help each other maintain speed and quality of service during busy times

employees provide prompt and quick service

employees give extra effort to handle special requests

Assurance

employees who can answer guests' questions completely

make guests feel comfortable and confident in their dealings with employees

personnel who are both able and willing to give information about menu items, the ingredients, and methods of preparation

make guests feel personally safe

personnel who seem well-trained, competent, and experienced

managers support employees so that they can do their job well

Empathy

employees who are sensitive to individual needs and wants rather than always relying on policies and procedures

make guests feel special

anticipate individual needs and wants

employees who are sympathetic and reassuring if something is wrong

employees seem to have the customers' best interests at heart

 

 

Gaining insights of all the customer expectations, providing excellent quality customer service is what be the final conclusion.    

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