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Maintaining good relationships with customers admission essay examples

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Introduction

Background information
The world’s largest private employer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has two million employees across the world. The organization, which is a retail business with well over 8500 stores under fifty names, operates in fifteen countries. According to Fortune 500, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was the third largest corporation in the world in the year 2012. The multinational retailer is headquartered in Benton Ville, Arkansas. The organization is best known for the way in which it treats its employees. The members of staff at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are referred to as associates. This is a unique strategy aimed at making the employees feel motivated by being referred to as owners of the organization. Making employees feel affiliated to the organization has for a very long time made the organization progress from one phase to another as the feeling of affiliation makes the employees receive change positively. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was founded by Sam Walton in the year 1962 and incorporated on the 31st day of October 1969. The organization’s stocks were first traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. To this day, the organization is run as a family business as the Walton Family controls 48% of the stocks.

Maintaining Good Relationships with Customers

Introduction
The customer is the most important stakeholder in any business corporation. The main reason why businesses exist is the customer. Many gurus in business management have described the customer as the backbone of the organization. Without the customer, there would have been no need for trading. It is for this reason that the marketing department of the organization needs to be strengthened in such a way that the business relationships that a business has with its customers can be made intact. With the customer relationships strong, the organization will no doubt be stable since it will be assured of stable market for its products (Jha 2008). It is of primary importance to note that retail business is one volatile venture that calls for strategic decisions to maintain its customers. This is primarily because, unlike manufacturing business, differentiation as a marketing strategy does not apply to the goods and products in a retail store as such; the management of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. should endeavor to differentiate the services they offer to customers and not the goods. This is a detailed report on how the organization can improve its customer relationships.

Customer Relationships Management

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a concept employed by marketers to ensure the organization maintains its customers. As a marketing assistant, there are many things that I would do to improve customer relationships as a way making the customer not just a consumer, but also a sales driver (Mclean-Conner 2006). Marketing is a primary function of business, especially in today’s world, where competition is high in all sectors of the economy. I would therefore like to inform the entire marketing department and the completely organizational management by extension, that customer relationships are based on the way in which the organization treats and categorizes its employees. The manner in which the organization responds to the needs of the customer is primarily important. Similarly, I would like to explore the various marketing strategies that can make the organization acquire new clients while maintaining the old clients. Below are a number of approaches to maintaining good customer relationships.

Personalized E-mail Marketing

E-mail marketing is one of the most prominent forms of marketing in the contemporary world, thanks to advancement in computer technology. The use of emails is part of a marketing approach referred to as E-advertising. E-marketing, as it is commonly referred, is an approach that can be used to reach global customers (Wilde 2011). Noteworthy is the actuality that email marketing is extremely effective for multinational corporations. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., being a multinational organization, should adopt this approach. It is important to note that this approach becomes even more effective when customization is incorporated. By customization, it means that the mails are prepared uniquely for each recipient. Sending mass mails is not effective as it fails to create a personal touch with the client. On the contrary, customized email marketing creates a personal touch with the customers in such a way that they feel affiliated to the organization. This boosts customer loyalty creating stability in the client base of the organization.

Rewarding loyal customers

As a marketing assistant, I would recommend that the organization come up with a client reward system, which focuses on loyalty. All loyal customers should be rewarded as a way of making them more loyal as well as agents of the organizations. Loyal customers will take pride in the organization if well rewarded. Rewarding the organization’s loyal customers may make the organization create a niche in the market. The niche will promote stability in the organization’s sales. Having secured the loyal customers, an organization is likely to get new customers and this will come in two ways (Raab 2008). The first way through which an organization will acquire more customers is through using the loyal customers as advocates of the organization. Secondly, having secured a niche of loyal customers, the organization will have much time to look for new customers.

Creating an effective feedback system

The organization should have a strong system of communication through which it will be able to respond to customer complaints. Having a system that listens to complains is the most effective way of making the clients feel appreciated and valued. The customer feedback system should be in a position to respond promptly to the needs and queries of the customers. Worth noting is the actuality that customers will always have queries concerning the manner in which the organization operates, and the kind of products it stocks. The organization may as well want the customers to feel well attended and catered for. An effectual communication system will ensure that the customers are aware of the changes in the organization especially the positive changes, and all aspects of continuous improvement.

Using the social media

Modern marketing gurus argue that social media is the most effective way of making customers loyal to an organization. Social media refers to the sites through which people interact online. The most common examples of social media are twitter and face book. Through social media, the customers will associate themselves with an organization. Most organizations on social media create fan pages which loyal customers associate them with. Such fan pages capture the attention of prospective customers who endeavor to understand what the nature of operation of the organization. These customers may as well wish to be associated with the organization as they perceive organizations on social media as being interactive and social (Wilde 2011). As such, they will as well buy goods from the organization and will cultivate loyalty with time.

Making the customers brand advocates

This has been identified as the most effective way of incorporating the customers into the systems of the organizations. Apparently, customers can be made advocates of change through many ways. The most prominent way through which the organization can make the customers advocates is through requesting them to participate in the making of testimonials of good service at the organization (Mclean-Conner 2006). Such testimonials can be in the form of videos or articles in the newspapers or consumer guide magazines. It is important to note that such testimonials have a heavy impact on prospective customers. The testimonials may influence some prospective customers into buying the products from the organization. Testimonials are one way of demonstrating service quality.

Ensuring the comfort of employees

As a matter of common knowledge, customers will always judge an organization from the way the employees treat them. This means that its employees define the organization’s image. This is to say that in the event that an employee mishandles a client, there is possibility that such a client will perceive the organization as a poor service provider. The first strategy therefore is to ensure that the organizations employees are comfortable and that their needs are addressed. While this has been effectively achieved in Wal-Mart Stores Inc., there is still more to be done on the part of improving the customer relations skills of the workforce. Worth noting is the actuality that training the employees on the way to handle customers is costly, but the most rewarding expense (Wilde 2011). Most importantly, in the case of a retailer, the employees to be trained are those employees that are in direct contact with the clients. These employees work at such stations as the counters and customer care department.

Introducing live chat on the website

In addition to having a website, the organization should have a live chat feature on the interactive customer support systems. The live chat feature will create a sense of personal touch between the organization and the individual consumers. As the personal touch is enhanced, the loyalty of the customer is enhanced as well. Clearly, live chat makes an organization’s communication systems become more effective. This is due to the reality that live chat is associated with immediate feedback. Immediate feedback is one of the aspects of communication that differentiates a good communication system from a bad communication structure. The organization should ensure the live chat is online and accessible

Customer satisfaction research

Customer satisfaction is among the primary objectives of the organization. The marketing department should endeavor to carry out research with the aim of establishing whether the organization’s service is satisfactory. This should take the form of questioning the employees at the point of sale or endeavoring to understand how such employees perceive the organization. Willing customers should be asked to fill in questionnaires answering questions relating to whether they are satisfied or they have many complains. The organization should then endeavor to implement the wishes of the customers. In fact, customers will always go for that organization that maximizes satisfaction.

Taking responsibility for faults

The management of the organization should learn to take responsibility for any mistakes in business transactions and any faulty products. This will make the client loyal to the organization, as the organization will have displayed an aspect of concern through taking responsibility (Jha 2008). Taking responsibility for error entails making apologies for such things as late deliveries. This is quite a simple task for the organization since it does not entail lengthy procedures. It is imperative to mention that taking responsibility can as well reduce conflicts, which may work negatively on the image of the organization. Customers can at times resort to legal action and this may cost the organization double fold since the management may have to pay fines while at the same time losing customers.

Making follow-ups

The organization should design structures that will ensure follow ups are made on every transaction made. This means that after selling such sophisticated things as big electronics, the organization’s technical team will offer after sales services such as installation and subsequent repairs. Repairing the machines for the customer reduces inconveniences. Convenience is an important aspect of any relationship. Clearly, a customer will always be loyal to that retailer that offers convenience transportation and delivery is one of the ways of offering convenience (Jha 2008). Follow-ups may as well entail the team from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., visiting the premises or home of the buyer to establish whether they are enjoying the service of the products they bought. This, according to most researchers is the most effective way of initiating communication between the client and the organization.

Embracing complaints

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has a system of embracing complaints from customers. Such complaints may relate to poor services or arrogant employees. Such structures may entail installing complaint boxes where the customer can file and drop a complaint at any time. The complaint system may as well employ the use of telephone calls and emails. The organization may as well set a section on the website where customers can report to the organization any problems that they encounter in the line of business. To maintain good relationships, the organization should respond directly to the client through a phone call or email informing them that the fault has been corrected (Raab 2008). This makes the customer feel appreciated at individual level.

Establishing FAQ section

There are those questions that are common regarding the organization. The organizations website should include a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section. Typically, this will act as a guide to the new customers. The new customers will find all relevant information about the organization. Here, they can learn about the uniqueness in the service delivery of the organization. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has this section in its website. However, it is essential to keep updating section as the questions keep changing through time.

Making the customers feel part of the business community

This can be achieved through a number of ways. For instance, the organization should be organized in such a way that the most loyal customers are invited to such events as end year parties. Similarly, the customers can be appreciated in the annual reports. Serving the customers with copies of the annual reports can enhance the relationships between the organization and the public. Inviting the customers to make decisions and suggestions is critically important as it gives such customers a feeling of affiliation. Feeling affiliated to the organization enhances loyalty and takes the organization a notch higher above its competitors.

Networking

Networking is a way of creating strong connections between the organization and its major stakeholders (Mclean-Conner 2006). Networking can take various forms, the most effective being preparing networking meetings. Such meetings bring together the customer community, the shareholders, the management, and the entire workforce of the organization. In the case of our organization, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., such networking can be done regionally since the organization has a wide branch network across 15 countries. During such meetings, customers can be encouraged to bring more prospects to the network. Apparently, bringing more customers to the network can be rewarding as kit enhances market stability.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is imperative to note that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is a big multinational retail store that faces competition from other established retailers. As a marketing assistant, I would recommend that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. adopt such strategies as networking, strong communications, using social media and email marketing, making follow-ups, and responding promptly to customer concerns. Additionally, researching on the customer satisfaction can help the organization come up with proper strategies that will make the organization gain an edge above other organizations.

Reference list

Jha, L. (2008). Customer relationship management: a strategic approach. New Delhi, Global India Publications
Mclean-Conner, P. (2006). Customer service: utility style: proven strategies for improving customer service and reducing customer care costs. Tulsa, Okla, PennWell Corp.
Raab, G. (2008). Customer relationship management: a global perspective. Aldershot, Hampshire, England, Gower
Wilde, S. (2011). Customer knowledge management: improving customer relationship through knowledge application. Heidelberg [etc.], Springer.

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