To ensure successful business operation in a corporation, well-developed and quality Customer Relationship Management is a key factor. It assists companies to cope with customers’ needs and concerns. In aspect of CRM, I think Customer Life Cycle is the most important. “…you must devise and implement a customer strategy that builds, fosters, nurtures and extends relationships with your customers” (Terry H. Hill, How do you sustain and grow your customer relationships?).
According to Mr. Hill, who is a speaker; consultant; author and founder of Legacy Associates Inc. (a business consulting and advisory services company), it is necessary to attract and retain most profitable customers by customer strategies. Also, he said, “Successful businesses capitalize on every stage of the customer life cycle-from customer selection, to customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer growth”, as when there are trust and comfort formed, most customers are not willing to change. They may be loyal to those companies. Therefore, Customer Life Cycle is an essential issue.
In customer’s perspective, to achieve customer selection and acquisition, advertising is a remarkable way. It is a media to deliver messages to targeted audiences. Most of us contact different media, such as newspaper, television, radio or Internet, everyday at any time. Due to the advanced technology (i.e. Smart phone or Tablet), we can face to media easily. As a result, advertising can be distributed to us very simple. Advertising is an effective tool to attract me since it can raise awareness which is necessary for me to notice the products or companies; develop understanding and create knowledge which make me clear what is the benefit and image.
To achieve customer retention and growth, there are positive and negative strategies, reward for staying and penalize for exiting respectively. In my experience, the penalties for exiting, such as create exit barriers and enforce contract, generally destroy the trust and comfort. After a period of time or the end of contract, relationship will no longer exist. Just like me and PCCW, it enforces me to sign a new contract for long term and high penalty for termination of service which make me depression. In the contrast, the rewards for staying, such as delight customers and create customer-perceived added value, are much helpful. Just like Pets Central and me, it often provides some sales promotion to me and gives me a membership of its customer club. These strategies delight me frequently and I am more likely to continue our relationship.
According to “Customer Relationship Management: Concepts and Technologies” (Buttle, F. (2009)) and “How do you sustain and grow your customer relationships?” (Terry H. Hill), excellence in CRM should have some criteria. Despite of advertising, sales promotion and membership, there should also include post sales support, staff experience and product innovative which can achieve customer acquisition and retention. They will influence the reputation of companies by word of mouth.
In practical, I am going to use two examples which I have business dealing with them to rate them by the criteria above. They are Dah Sing Bank and Pets Central. Dah Sing Bank is a middle-sized bank. I have opened a personal account in it that I can deposit and exchange stock or application for IPO. I contact with it every day by using e-banking to operate my account and every month by mail or e-mail to receive the statement or advertisement. I expect it can provide reliable service, to be a well capital keeper, and provide higher interest rate or lower trading cost. But, I slightly dissatisfied with the relationship, as the server of e-banking often breaks down, it is inconvenient and possible to cause economic loss since it cannot trade at critical moment. Also, the branches are small generally and less in amount. It causes a relatively long waiting time than other banks due to fewer tellers.
The other company, Pets Central, is a pet clinic. I have a cat, so, I go Pets Central to look for some medical support, such as, drugs prescription and injection. I also use to purchase food in there since those foods are recognized and recommended by veterinarian. I contact with it by Facebook and official website to get news, window shopping or online shopping to refill the food and litter monthly. Also, I take my pet to there for injections yearly. My expectation to it are, well quality medical support, product promotion, responsibility and detail introduction or explanation on drugs, diet and injection. I satisfy with this relationship since it provides well treatment; its staffs are professional, attentive and enthusiastic; there is membership program and announcement of updated news on Facebook.