A customer orientation approach means that the company gives a lot of importance to the customer and is a customer oriented company. Such companies make all their marketing strategies with customers at the apex of the pyramid.
The key to having customer orientation is to add as much value as possible to your products. The customers love the company which provides them value. Hence, overall, customer orientation involves four steps of value addition so that the customers are satisfied and happy with the company. The four steps of Customer orientation are
Step 1 of Customer orientation – Develop
- Product design – Most top automobile manufacturers are respected because their products are designed completely by keeping the customer in mind. In fact, in case of the luxury class, every small detail is captured and involved as feedback during product design.
- Customer needs – The development of the product has to be done keeping the end user in mind. It cannot be developed based on what the company is capable of. If the company is incapable, they have to ramp up their resources. But the development should give the product as per the needs of the customer.
- Development time – To match the expectations of customers, the development must be scalable and should be able to give a lot of production if the demand increases. This is because if the customer is kept waiting for the product, it effects his satisfaction levels. And delay is not what you can expect from a customer oriented company.
Step 2 of customer orientation – Manufacturing
- Quality – There are many ISO standards in the market which are awarded to companies only because they operate with good manufacturing practices (GMP). Such ISO standards are to be followed by all companies which want to achieve customer orientation. This ensures the customer that the best technology and quality has been used while manufacturing.
- Output – The output of manufacturing should be optimal and it should match the demand in the market. Typically, this involves reducing the time of each manufacturing cycle and optimizing it so that the company does not incur additional cost. At the same time, the total unit output is optimal as well.
Step 3 of Customer orientation – Market
- STP – Correct marketing starts with segmenting the customers, targeting them and then running promotions so that there is top of the mind awareness for the product.
- Advertising – Many different type of POS, ATL and BTL advertising is used to build the trust in the minds of the consumers that the product has been manufactured for them after adhering to all norms of manufacturing and design.
- Demand and supply gap – One of the critical things while capturing the market is maintaining equilibrium between demand and supply.
Step 4 of Customer orientation – Deliver
- Brand building – Brand building is all about delivering the promises which you gave at the design stage. After you have marketed a brand, the customer expects things from the products of that brand. So your brand has to promise what it can deliver.
- Value for money – The most satisfied customers are those who think they have received value for their money. The delighted customers are those who thing they have received products beyond their expectations.
- Service – The critical aspect to a positive experience by the customer is the after sales service which is given to the customer. This is an aspect where many companies fail whereas others succeed. Service delivery post sales can make or break a brand.
Overall , if you look at it, when a firm decides to be customer orientated, the efforts start from the product design to the delivery of the product. This inverts the traditional thinking where the company used to manufacture what it could. It now designs and manufactures what the customer wants, needs or demands.