The Chinese Market and Understanding your Customers (2)

Getting the thumbs up from your customers

In yesterday’s post about current issues facing businesses operating in China, we established that many companies may be in need of extra marketing expertise and better knowledge about the markets they operate in.

As a follow up to that, in today’s instalment we look in more detail at what form this injection of expertise should take. From a marketing point of view what is apparent is that we’re not just talking about producing a few adverts or brochures or even just selling a little bit harder. We are talking about a complete marketing, sales and customer value programme with 5 key steps:

  1. Understand the Customers
    Who are the customers, what is the value chain they are operating in, what are the different customer segments, what do the customers in those segments need and value, what are their unmet and poorly met needs, what are the customers in those segments willing to pay for, what value do they receive from our products and services? How do I find out all these things?
  2. Commit to the Customers
    For each of those segments, what should be my strategy, how can I create value for the customers and how can I capture that value back to my company? What is my offering, how is it unique and differentiated from the competition? What can I leverage beyond the product – what services and intangible elements will give me the edge? How am I optimising the 4Rs of sustainable differentiation: Reputation (Brand), Reliability, Responsiveness and Relationship?
  3. Create Customer Value
    How do I create and sustain a customer-value culture in my organisation (this must be led from the top)? How do I ensure that my pricing really reflects the value created for the customer? How do I avoid competing head-on with competitors on price? How do I give my people the appropriate skills and competencies to implement an advanced marketing strategy, to sell in a more competitive and more demanding market and how do I get them to sell and capture the value? What about building and sustaining customer relationships?
  4. Obtain Customer Feedback
    How do I ensure that what I am offering my customers is really delightingthem and will ensure my retention of their business? How can I build customer loyalty and avoid the expensive loss of valuable customers?
  5. Improve Customer Value
    How do I build sustainable customer relationships and sustainable profitable growth? How do I build on the customer business that I have and grow the business? How do I protect the business from competitive threats?

For more information about being better able to understand your customers, please visit our corporate website, which contains further details about conducting tailored customer satisfaction research. Moreover, given our presence in China itself, we can offer such services locally, with the necessary local knowledge that’s essential in carrying out effective research.

The original version of this article by GEMS can be found here

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