The core idea of the customer-led company is to focus on needs and not products. The central idea of marketing is that customers want to meet a need or solve a problem and not to buy a product.
The concept and why the different mind set What is your operation now - Questions to ask yourself Do you manufacture products and supply a service to a target market? Do you supply a variety of products? Do you sell your services so your clients buy from you? Once your client gives you a job, do you work to that job?
“Selling tries to get the customer to want what the company has” The whole focus is job / product orientated you only work on the job with out asking about the customer needs. For example you are manufacturing a automotive part and the client needs 100 units with in 3 days. The order is large and you have to assign a whole line to fulfill the order which you regularly do because he is an important client. A customer led company would spend a bit of time to ascertain the client specific need and find out that he requires 20 units a day to fulfill his overseas orders. With a bit of research the company could introduce a "Just in Time" order programme that would provide a solution to everyone's needs.
Business that are good at satisfying customer needs can grow and satisfy all concerned Shareholders - value in company Managers - pro-active instead of reactive Customers - satisfaction Employees - security Creditors - high credit rating
A Customer-led Company Marketing-led is to build a relationship to meet the customer needs.
“Marketing tries to get the company to produce what the customer wants and to meet a need and not buy a product”
The customer buys a benefit not a product. Eg. a lady will buy a new dress but she needs shoes to go with it, she will shop until the correct pair has been found - the benefit is a matching outfit.
How do you create a customer-led company Work on the internal communications and relationship building within the company. Training on customer needs and benefits to the customer. Customer focus on everything you do - customer orientated. You will create a differential advantage over your competitors.
If your service, friendliness, competent skills and quality is totally focused on the customer you will be like a shining beacon to your competitors. To be cutomer-led you need to do some training and here is a guideline to follow.
Training Sessions for a Customer-led Company 1. Training Session - Forming The Vision and Mission Statements A mission statement seeks to describe the purpose of a business and its essential character. Managers and staff need to buy into the firms vision and mission. It has three functions;
Motivation of employees
A shared sense of purpose
Identifies major policies
The four components of a mission statement are;
Definition of a competitive scope - what is its business - Coca-Cola Head Office selling syrup to its bottling distributors. Honda the combustion engine.
Strategic intention - the vision, courage to be number 1
Competencies and competitive advantage - unique skills
Key stakeholders - who they are
2. Training Session - Employee altitudes
Employees - major asset to company
All employees are important to achieve goals
How do they feel about the company
Level of co-operation between departments or functions
Improving internal operations and enhancing performance
Invite suggestions and challenge for best suggestion
3. Training Session - Customer analysis If you lose a customer through poor service, or for any other reason a compounding effect takes place. Not only have you lost R2 500 turnover per month but R30 000 in a year and R90 000 over 3 years and that's just one customer. One satisfied customer will refer you to 3 to 5 other potential customers but one dissatisfied customer will tell 10 to 15 people not to use you.
How good is the company in satisfying the customer needs
Customers as assets
How to improve its services to customers
Making sure that the business is really selling what the customer wants to buy
Analyse products and after sales service
Who is your customers and who should it be
What customer segments should be targeted
Who makes the buying decisions
What do they buy
Where do they buy
When do they buy
4. Training Session - Competitive attitudes Competitive environment and analysis of the changes in;
Technology - any new upgrades or advances
Demographics - population size, age, sex, occupations, income etc.
Culture - relationship internally and externally - black empowerment
Legislation - labour laws
Economy - interest rates, Rand exchange rate, petrol price
What makes you different from your competitors- areas to analyse Quality , Relationship , Skills, Staff, Systems, Technology Leadership, Price, Place - location, Promotion, Service
5. Training Session - Strategy development and Implementation This a crucial part of the process. It involves positioning the company with the aim of obtaining high marks from customer scorecards. A positioning strategy has two components. The first is to obtain who the target market is and secondly to differentiate the business in the eyes of the customer to establish a preference.
A good way to implement the concept is through participation and belonging. Two tools are particular useful, a quality circle and a challenge.