Fantast Soup is a food express company which specializes in lunchbox and soup express business. Customers can place order to their office through fax, tel. or Internet. The Office staff then call customers back to confirm order and finally call the relevant food express depot to deliver the food to customers.
The introduction of ordering through Internet has brought many benefits to the customers. Menu with all the varieties of lunchbox and soup is available at a glance on their webpage. Customers can easily check the most updated options available on a particular day which can save customers a lot of time and prevent misunderstanding. Unlike telephone or fax lines, Internet can serve multiple customers at the same time, which means easier access and time saving service for all customers. Finally the record of Internet orders can be stored easily in the computer which allows Fantast Soup to do sales analysis to look for popular or less popular soup/lunchbox. Therefore, the menu can be adjusted from time to time to meet the requirement of customers and special menu can be offered to those customers with special preference.
In order to better serve the need of customers, Fantast Soup has set up a ¡°Message Board¡± webpage for customers to make comment on their food and service. Their management will spend 3 hours every day to reply to those customers and discuss how to improve their food and service. Moreover, Fantast Soup has also formulated a ¡°What¡¯s New¡± webpage to keep the customers informed of latest development of the company. News relevant to customers is announced on this webpage such as new service area, price adjustment and etc. In this way, customers feel they are being taken care, thus establishing a stronger relationship with the company.
This story tells us how Fantast Soup, through what be termed as relationship marketing strategy, shifts its traditional product focus to a customer-centric business model. Therefore, it is being encouraged to create a competitive advantage over its rivals to be successful in today¡¯s competitive environment.
An example of this kind illustrates relationship marketing is not something new but a common phenomenon nowadays. Writers such as Christian Gronroos address that:
¡°It is becoming increasingly important for marketers to understand the implication of how service components are developed and integrated into the overall marketing strategy. It is crucial to the customer relationship management process.¡±
It suggests that the increasing market competition drives the firm to enhance value around the core product, create reliable service to accompany the product, and establish a trustworthy relationship with customers, suppliers, distributors, stakeholders, and etc.
In the following parts, I will first touch on a transition from a transaction marketing to a relationship marketing, and then a general introduction of relationship marketing and customer relationship marketing (CRM). After taking a look at cultivation of relationship marketing, I will move on to further examine the value creation process through implementation of CRM.