value and satisfaction but not “give away the house.” Customer Relationship Levels and Tools Companies can build customer relationships at many levels, depending on the nature of the target market. At one extreme, a company with many low-margin customers may seek to develop basic relationships with them. For example, Nike does not phone or call on all of its consumers to get to know them personally. Instead, Nike creates relationships through brand-building advertising, public relations, and its website ( ). -For example, many companies offer frequency marketing programs that reward customers who buy frequently or in large amounts. Airlines offer frequent-flyer programs, hotels give room upgrades to their frequent guests, and supermarkets give patronage discounts to “very important customers.” -For example, fast-casual restaurant Panera has a MyPanera loyalty program that surprises frequent customers with things like complimentary bakery-café items, exclusive tastings and demonstrations, and invitations to special events. Almost half of all Panera purchases are logged onto MyPanera cards. The program not only lets Panera track individual customer purchases, it also lets the company build unique relationships with each MyPanera member. 13 - For example, Harley-Davidson sponsors the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.), which gives Harley riders a way to share their common passion of “making the Harley-Davidson dream a way of life.” H.O.G. membership benefits include a
quarterly HOG magazine, the Touring Handbook , a roadside assistance program, a specially designed insurance program, theft reward service, a travel centre, and a “Fly & Ride” program that enables members to rent Harleys while on vacation. The worldwide club now has more than 1500 local chapters and more than 1 million members. 14 The Changing Nature of Customer Relationships Relating with More Carefully Selected Customers Few firms today still practise true mass marketing—selling in a standardized way to any customer who comes along. Today, most marketers realize that they don’t want relationships with every customer. Instead, they target fewer, more profitable customers. “Not all customers are worth your marketing efforts,” states one analyst. “Some are more costly to serve than to lose.” Adds another marketing expert, “If you can’t say who your customers aren’t , you probably can’t say who your customers are .” 15 -But what should the company do with unprofitable customers that it already has? If it can’t turn them into profitable ones, it may even want to dismiss customers that are too unreasonable or that cost more to serve than they are worth. “Like bouncers in glitzy nightspots,” says another consultant, “executives will almost certainly have to ‘fire’ [those] customers.” For example, American Express recently sent letters to some of its members offering them $300 in exchange for paying off their balances and closing their accounts. Reading between the lines, the credit card company was dumping unprofitable customers. 17 Relating More Deeply and Interactively Two-Way Customer Relationships
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- Winter '16
- Simon P. Sigué