The Client is Still King: 10 Basic Service Marketing Trends
2. Radical transparency: companies should avoid concealing any type of information that later on could be relevant or damage/affect client relationships. Companies need to innovate as regards concepts such as security, confidence, credibility, perception of honesty and/or sense of protection, which can be achieved by providing clients with the following:
- Sufficient information.
- Simplified information that is easy to understand.
- Truthful information and preventive advice.
- A very clearly explanation of what is included in a service and what is not.
- Letters of commitment to provide services.
- Advice on how to optimize costs/profits/coverage.
- Access codes so as to be able to consult online contractual terms and conditions, information, service background and statistics, etc.
3. Listening to clients in a systematic, exaggerated and theatrical but real way. Companies should provide their clients with the following:
- A channel for inquiries, comments and suggestions (telephone and email).
- A 24-hour telephone service (cost-free for clients).
- A website for inquiries, complaints, comments and suggestions.
Likewise, they should periodically poll existing clients through focus groups and questionnaires so as to identify emerging demands, opportunities for innovation, suggestions, etc.
4. Ensuring basic client rights such as:
- Right to security: guaranteeing the protection of consumers from the marketing dangerous products that could put their health or life at risk.
- Right to information: guaranteeing the protection of consumers from fraudulent, abusive or misleading publicity, labeling or any other marketing practice. This also involves establishing suitable conditions so that consumers can make an adequately informed choice, in accordance with their wishes and needs.
- Right to choose: guaranteeing consumers, whenever possible, access to a variety of products and services of a satisfactory quality and at competitive prices. In those sectors that are closed to competition and therefore have to be regulated by the government, companies should guarantee a service of a satisfactory quality and at a fair price.
- Right of being heard: guaranteeing that the general interests of consumers will be represented, heard and taken into account when formulating policies that affect them; it also involves guaranteeing consumers’ right to equality before the law.
5. Radically proactive and non-sales centric communication: communication with clients should be mostly non-sales centric. In other words, only one in three communications should be of a commercial or sales nature. Clients reject relational communication for this reason. They want a clear, detailed and customized communication that forges a link through emotions and provides them with practical and useful information.
6. Putting the accent on "the experiential": what is understood by customer experience are all those interactions taking place between a company and its clients, regardless of the environment, medium or situation in which they occur. In addition to inducing clients to make a purchase, marketing should also focus on offering sensorial, cognitive and relational values that accompany and enrich the functional factors of products and services. Clients should be attended to, stimulated, provoked in a creative fashion, although charged a coherent price, given that the economic crisis has come hand-in-hand with a low-cost trend across the board.
7. Harnessing the power of co-marketing: co-marketing is a practice in which two different companies cooperate for mutual benefit to achieve synergies such as cost reduction. Nowadays, clients demand that companies forge alliances so as to offer "real advantages." To this end, companies should design and implement joint strategies depending on the market segment that they wish to target and their corporate strategy. A company may need the help of a partner so as to reach clients via a channel that it is unfamiliar with, obtain a greater impact in the place where the sales point is located, achieve greater success with a specific promotion, give away the products of another company, use the channels of a specific company, etc.
8. Applying geographic micro-segmentation: geographic micro-segmentation, or geo-marketing, involves the integration of geographic applications in all the aspects of marketing, including sales and distribution. Geo-marketing – also known as geographic marketing – is a subdiscipline of marketing analysis that uses geolocation (geographical data) in the process of planning and carrying our marketing actions.
9. Applying demographic micro-segmentation: there are new segments that call for an adapted approach, such as the disabled, the senior sector (population ageing has given rise to what can be called "senior marketing"), the collective comprising European tourists and immigrants, and another slightly different sector comprising non-European immigrants, which in turn can be segmented, etc. Therefore, what is involved is taking into account specific demographic variables, such as age, gender, education, income, occupation, household composition, etc., when designing very concrete marketing strategies. Because the more developed and competitive markets are, less effective the socio-economic segmentation will be.
10. Embracing a social cause: the so-called "cause marketing" serves as an important tool for heightening awareness and helping to resolve community problems. When this concept is put into practice, companies can comply with their social responsibility, while attracting consumers and increasing their sales. For many companies, social marketing is synonymous of philanthropy. So they decide to earmark a certain amount of their budget for supporting NGOs or some charity. The aim of cause marketing is to ensure that those charitable or social actions have a greater impact and, at the same time, boost sales. It is important to think strategically, choose a sole cause so as to achieve greater influence and identity, and work jointly with different social organizations to ensure that all established objectives are reached.
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