The only grounds of business to be in this market is to innovate progressively to satisfy the customer needs and wants. Now, the goal is to integrate with the customers and find their needs and wants in order to serve the perfect product. Customer orientation is merely a marketing, but is the the most important pillar of the market orientation along with coordinated marketing and profitability. Customer orientation is the answer for superior market performance in this highly competent market. It studies both internal and external environment to integrate the customer's knowledge for making a product. This essay critiques on the application of customer orientation by the sellers. Secondly, It also emphasises on the importance of customer orientation and how it is affecting customers and sellers. Followed by that, the essay focuses on how it helps to build relationships with the consumer in order to fulfill the needs and wants. The dilemma that firms are facing is if they adopt the customer orientation culture or not, or if they think to adopt it then how do they implement it?
Customer orientation is the key subcomponent of the market orientation along with integrated company effort and profit goals. But, customer orientation remains to be the primary aspect. Customer orientation is the backward process in which the firms starts with the consumer, regardless of actual and potential, and returns to the company asking the questions like what are the product do customers need? How can they be satisfied more? How can the products can improve? The business tries to see through the vision of the consumers and try to recognize their needs and wants (Kohli and Jaworski, 1990). Today, the marketing concept has moved forward from product-orientation to customer-orientation which leads to grasp the in depth knowledge of the consumer's needs and wants to invent or develop the existing product.
In today's market, adopting customer oriented business method is necessary to win over the competitors. They also seek to understand the expressed and latent needs to develop exceptional solutions generates the opportunity to gain buyer's loyalty provided they are able to understand the need of buyers. Latent needs refers to the current needs of the consumer which is impossible for consumer to communicate to the seller at the moment (Slater and Narver, 1999). Many firms have outperformed the competitors by making developing customer-oriented culture in their businesses. Thus, customer orientation is the basis of the organization.
The reason of how customer oriented firms affect customers directly or indirectly is still unknown. Kotler defined the ‘new' marketing concept in the process which starts with identifying customer needs and wants by taking interviews and asking directly or indirectly what they want through interviews or surveys. After that, the next step is to integrate marketing which involves customer as well as the seller that develops a relationship between them and the seller perceives the vision of the consumer and provide them the best. The final step is to attain profits through the sales by satisfying the customer to the maximum level.
Customer orientation requires strategies that primarily focuses on the customer to offer them superior products and win the market but an organization shouldn't be fully relied upon it. However, the organization should take care of both competitors and the customers but exclusive attention can lead to negligence to the consumers so, to excel in the market an organization has to maintain the perfect balance between these substantial aspects (Han, Kim and Srivastava, 1998).
The aspect of customer orientation places the customer as the king. This helps the organization to exercise developing the products and services according to the customer's requirement. The organization often realize that if they don't keep the customers happy, they will lose to the competitors. Hece, they do everything to keep them happy. To maintain good relations with the consumers and fulfil their needs, the seller takes few steps like deep understanding of customer needs; it emphasises on the latent needs as well as the future needs that will derive to make the perfect product in the future. Secondly, organizing the internal environment and acting upon the insights like future-thinking and broadening the visions. Finally, deploying boundary spanning activities to gain insights about customer needs and making innovative ways to increase market knowledge to identify the actual and potential customers helps firms to be more customer oriented.
Importance of Customer Orientation
It is widely accepted that practicing customer orientation is successful for the businesses. In an organization customer orientation is an ongoing learning process which results as a competitive strategy which reflects the customer's perceptions.
Being customer as the king, end-user satisfaction is the cornerstone of the firm's survival. And adopting customer oriented culture is crucial for the organization. Customer orientation is considered to be the as important as the competitor (Han, Kim and Srivastava, 1998)
Subsequently, customer orientation influences the internal environment of the organization too that are employees. As introduced to the workers, customer orientation is application of the marketing concept focusing on customer need satisfaction at personal level. They are motivated to work towards the common goal with the same behaviour. Scholars investigated the implication of orientation on the work performance and found out to be true. Customer oriented behaviour performance of the employees may lead to greater revenues if it is counterbalanced with the costs. (Grizzle et al., 2009)
The production of the product or the development of the service starts with customer orientation which is made keeping in mind the needs and wants of customer only. Customers of a company will usually look at the quality and price of the products that they purchase and use and the customer gets the superior quality from many sellers at the same time. The commitment of providing customer value entails the production of the best product which enhances the productivity in the organization. However, there are some other things that they would wish the product may have. So, instead of finding other products to buy, they will surely remain loyal to a certain product if it is developed in the innovations that customers would want it to have. Since their needs and wants are considered, consumers are kept happy and satisfied especially because they feel that their opinions are valued by applying customer orientation.
Effects of Consumer Orientation Firm Performance
Customer orientation is the key to build relationship for any firm to its markets. Environment plays a vital role in customer orientation effects. Different antecedents leads to different outcomes. (Frambach, Fiss and Ingenbleek, 2016). The relationship between the firm's business performance and customer orientation is dependent upon supplying the committed and quality products or services as promised. Marketing capability influences the development and success of sustainable development strategies if it aligns itself with customer oriented needs and wants of the customer (Pekovic and Rolland, 2016).
Consumer orientation firms are more productive than non-customer oriented firms as Kohli and Jaworski suggest that customer orientation backs various psychological and social benefits to the employees as it acts as the sense of pride and belongingness to the workers. Showing them all working towards the common goal i.e., customer satisfaction, gives the organization posited splendid results. The environmental context also highly influences the orientation towards the customer. Environment is usually turbulent and firms who work in more turbulent environment tend to have customers who change their preferences time and again. In contrast, business operating in less turbulent environment make little modification in the products as customers rarely change the preferences. Hence, customer orientation is more active in performance turbulent market than stable markets (Jaworski and Kohli, 1993).
Innovation is the openness to the new ideas which develops the new products for the consumers only if the firm is innovative. Being a customer oriented firm, it focuses on information gathering and dissemination and it involves willingness to involve new information which translates new ideas into opportunities. In research the innovation works with the internal knowledge of the firm that created new opportunities to build a product. However, being fully customer oriented can diminish the innovation process somehow because only seller is the middlemen between the buyer and the industry and if he doesn't introduce new technology to the consumers, the product will start falling. So seller only has to introduce the consumers to the new technology if asked or not to lead the product innovation forward (Narver and Slater, 1990).
Consumer orientation also affects the business profitability. The greater the customer orientation, the higher the profitability is predicted and it is expected to be positive relation between the performance and the orientation. Giving quality products at low prices may attract the customer and will increase the profitability. However, in the dynamic environment the customer keeps on demanding new things which can lead to extensive expenditure in developing new products or constantly modifying products according to the customers (Narver and Slater, 1990).
Customer orientation is blindly followed by the companies and becoming successful by enhancing customer experience by the way of products or services following the customer's needs and wants. It is undoubtedly a dominant factor for innovativeness, profitability and market knowledge. Customer orientation helps to increase customer loyalty when the firms care about them and tailor products according to their needs and wants but it also creates tremendous expenditure to modify the product.
Customer orientation is directly related to profitability in most of the cases which is attracting companies to follow this path but on the other hand it is increasing the expenditure of the resources simultaneously. Customer orientation should not be recommended in less competitive, technologically turbulent, stable market and growing economies (Kohli and Jaworski, 1990).
A business which us fully customer oriented will never be business oriented. Neither knowledge nor skills are eternal, it requires continuous research once in at least half a decade or the knowledge will become obsolete. In order to stay aggressive organizations possess an ability to constantly innovate and invest in training of their personnel and build on the intellectual capital. There are many factors that have contributed to this development. First and foremost it is the rapid changes in technology and globalisation of the entire business environment, which has made a whole range of professions obsolete, changed the nature of the most every profession, and created a demand for totally new professions. All of this takes place to fulfil the customer's needs and wants. (Drucker, 1992, 1995)
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