Businesses need to build relationships with customers so they will keep coming back and will refer others to the business and its products and services. Building relationships requires attention to the customer relationship at all stages, from first point of contact through future sales and through times when sales are low or absent.
It is more costly to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, so efforts spent on building relationships can pay off significantly. Despite a business's best efforts, mistakes can happen and sometimes customers are not satisfied.
Effective customer-oriented sales strategies will include consideration of service recovery processes to ensure that if errors occur, they are quickly and effectively handled. In addition, businesses need to be continually seeking input from customers about ways products and services can be improved, as well as acting on those inputs to ensure long-standing success. Leigh Richards has been a writer since Her work has been published in "Entrepreneur," "Complete Woman" and "Toastmaster," among many other trade and professional publications.
She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Arts in organizational management from the University of Phoenix. Skip to main content. Identifying and Segmenting Customers Effective customer-oriented sales strategies require the segmentation of customers into specific groups or areas of focus. Learning About Customer Needs and Preferences The more a business knows about its customers and their needs and preferences, the more successful its sales strategies will be.
Building Relationships Hopefully customer interactions will not be one-time events. Engaging in Service Recovery and Continuous Improvement Despite a business's best efforts, mistakes can happen and sometimes customers are not satisfied. Market Strategies Strategic Communications: This helps identify the journey that the customer takes through an organisation, often transferring from one organisational silo to another. The actual words of the questionnaire would be developed around talking to both employees and customers to ensure that the questions are phrased in a way that is meaningful to the customer, and actionable by the company.
So what are companies doing today? Research by Customer Champions into companies across Europe indicates that the vast majority are gaining customer feedback, but as the diagram below illustrates, it is what happens after that data has been collected where the real challenges start.
The first problem area seems to be the communication of findings to employees; an essential aspect if the company is to achieve its ambition of converting customer strategy to customer culture. After all, it is these employees that will be delivering the countermeasures against issues raised by customers.
The authors have found that companies often recognise they have problems to resolve with the customer but they score relatively poorly on how well they communicate and develop improvement plans to both their customers and their employees. It appears that once a poor communicator, companies are sadly consistent in this aspect of their business, no matter who the audience are, customer or employee.
The inevitable conclusion to this lack of communication leading to lack of activity is that all parties will not perceive any value in providing feedback, and instead will simply look to build relationships with other parties. Solving th problems highlighted from analysis of customer feedback and acting upon the feedback is crucial. In order for this gap to be closed and a customer oriented culture to prevail, work needs to be done on translating customer feedback into the context of desired behaviours.
Company, Customer, and Employee:. Clearly identifiable desired behaviours will result in allowing employees to have clear roles and responsibilities — a key driver in employee loyalty. Customer feedback, whether external or internal, is a continuous event in a customer oriented culture. The annual customer or employee satisfaction measurement programmes may be taken as providing some of the headlines, but it is more regular feedback that will not only provide the detail behind the headlines, but also provide evidence of the impact of any countermeasures that have been deployed.
Having established the need for frequent feedback in converting customer strategy to customer culture, the next issue is to link employee and customer feedback. This has to start with a strong belief that it is employees who ultimately deliver what the customer needs. This view was seized upon by Harley Davidson who carried out extensive research into what their customers wanted, and then empowered their employees to deliver it, creating a truly customer oriented culture in the process.
Southwest Airlines are frequently recognised for their exceedingly high levels of customer satisfaction. Their mission statement detailed below, clearly states how they see this being delivered through their employees:. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of SWA.
Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the Organisation that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest customer. Linking the two different views of internal and external customers is a powerful way of assessing the impact of the brand and delivering the customer vision. Likewise in order to get a full picture, best practice is to include suppliers as an audience as well as evaluating how customers see your competitors to identify strengths and weaknesses.
As well as communicating the feedback of customer and employee surveys, senior management need to ensure that service providers are involved in the resolution of customer issues. This can be encouraged via the use of service improvement teams and action groups. Often training and coaching interventions need to be designed to support desired behaviours and create a culture where the customer is king.
Organisations such as BUPA have successfully developed leadership programmes, supported by findings, to allow individuals to refine and test customer-value based leadership behaviours. They have also included all employees in brand awareness workshops with the intention of allowing employees to see how their behaviour impacts on the customer and delivering a customer oriented service. In order to sustain a customer focus, organisations need to ensure that customer and employee feedback is regular and that brand values are in-line with customer and employee needs.
One organisation with whom we worked recently found that its customer values and desired employee behaviours that had been developed five years ago needed to be revisited and updated in the light of customer and employee feedback.
The benefit of clear customer-orientated values and behaviours and of regular feedback is that it provides a framework against which employers can:. Ultimately the effectiveness of this approach in converting customer strategy to customer culture can be evaluated via such measures as the balanced scorecard, increases in the number of loyal customers, profitability and growth.
A customer-oriented organization places customer satisfaction at the core of each of its business decisions. Customer orientation is defined as an approach to sales and customer-relations in which.
What is Customer Orientation? Definition: Customer orientation is a business strategy in the Most modern companies have transitioned to a more customer-oriented approach to product design, development, and marketing strategy, but a company that truly embraces this idea changes it’s entire operations to fit consumer .
A customer focused approach involves understanding the needs and expectations of customers with the goal to serve them in the best possible manner. Definition of customer orientation: A group of actions taken by a business to support its sales and service staff in considering client needs and satisfaction their major priorities. Business strategies that tend to reflect a customer.
Effective customer-oriented sales strategies can ensure small business success. The more a business knows about its customers and their needs and preferences, the more successful its sales. Creating a customer oriented culture requires changes across the organisation from board level objectives to recruitment and training. Find out more. Creating a customer-orientated culture. Creating a customer-orientated culture been able to identify brand values which form the backbone of how they do business with the customer and how.