When it comes to creating the perfect business model, the best is one that not only understands the changing needs of today’s customers, but continually provides goods and/or services that exceed their expectations.
Research shows that customers stay loyal to a brand when they are delighted with its offering – not just when they are satisfied. Customers are satisfied when brands deliver what’s promised. They are delighted when the brand delivers MORE than what’s promised and exceeds expectations.
“Final customers are those who find value in your proposition,” says Jay Mulki, associate professor of marketing at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University in Boston. “Customers find value only when they are convinced that suppliers have their best interest in mind, and provide
them with goods and services that are tailored to their needs now and in the long term.”
So, how does a brand create trust? Mulki says marketing is based on serving the mutual interest of the customer and the brand. “The shift to relationship-based marketing requires mutual trust between sellers and buyers. Trust based relationships depend on understanding customers’ needs and wants,
solving customer problems, providing opportunities and adding value to customers’ business over a long period.”
Mulki says trust consists of both cognitive and affective trust. Cognitive trust is based on a brand’s ability, skills, knowledge base and expertise. This kind of trust can be developed quickly. Affective trust is based on dependability, reliability, candor and compatibility. This kind of trust takes time to develop after a series of interactions. In this set up, relationships are built on shared value and salespeople. Brands form partnerships with customers to provide the right solutions.
The best formula is to be “customer centric.” “This formula keeps customer interest at the center and develops strategies and actions to ensure customer satisfaction and growth,” Mulki says. “Customer centric organizations focus on long-term relationships that focus on mutual benefits and growth. Customer-oriented organizations are known for their laser-like focus on customer needs. This focus is organization-wide, and not just in sales or marketing.”
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