تبدیل شدن به یک مشتری ارجح یک گام به جلو
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21242||2012||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8362 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 41, Issue 8, November 2012, Pages 1186–1193
A preferred customer is a buying organization who receives better treatment than other customers from a supplier, in terms of product quality and availability, support in the sourcing process, delivery or/and prices. The decision to become a preferred customer implies a continuous commitment by the purchaser to a complex, expensive and often uncertain process. It is important to use a strategic approach, as well as appropriate tactics. Based on well-known models on the development of buyer-supplier relationship, on customer portfolio analysis and on the emergent literature in customer attractiveness and preferred customer status, we suggest four steps to become – and remain – a preferred customer: initial attraction, performance, engagement and sustainability. The process takes the perspective of a buyer willing to obtain the preferential status and focuses on the strategies and tactics that could influence the supplier's decision of granting this status. The proposed process considers that the supplier is continuously comparing the value offered by the customer to its expectations, and to the value offered by other customer relationships.
It is usually considered that the initiator of the relationship between sellers and buyers is the potential vendor. The salesperson tries to convince a client to do business with his/her organization; and, over time, the efforts can eventually be oriented towards becoming a preferred supplier. However, the increased dependence of buying firms on their suppliers is changing the dynamics between the selling and the buying parties (Dyer and Singh, 1998 and Johnson et al., 2010). To be able to get the attention of the best suppliers and the make sure they are willing to contribute to their customer competiveness, purchasers have to know better than before how to make their organization become a preferred customer (Schiele, 2012). Suppliers, particularly those recognized as excellent or exceptional, are wooed by potential clients, and even by existing ones who want to increase their business with them. Such a reality gives little choice to purchasers, who now have to come up with more proactive supply strategies, while improving their relative position towards suppliers. Otherwise, security of supply and supply chain competitiveness might become an even more challenging issue. Although product substitution or changing suppliers is recommended when a supplier's power is higher than the purchaser's (Lindwall, Ellmo, Rehme, & Kowalkowski, 2010), developing a long-term relationship with an existing supplier constitutes a better avenue when the dependence level is high (Caniëls & Gelderman, 2005). The purchaser should then strive to stimulate and improve exchange processes (Ellegaard, 2006), as well as to modify supplier behavior and improve supplier performance (Ghijsen, Semeijn, & Ernstson, 2010). A survey aimed at determining the most appropriate buying strategies support this approach. Out of 100 purchasers who were interviewed, 72% indeed answered that becoming a “preferred customer” should be a priority for some goods or services where demand exceeds supply; according to the other interviewees, suppliers give priority to higher selling prices rather than to which customer orders (Kanter, 2008). However, a supplier survey by Bew (2007) indicates that customer status carries more importance than economic or monetary capabilities: - 75% regularly offer “rare” products/services to their preferred customers (this is also confirmed by Ivens & Pardo, 2007); - 82% indicate that this type of customer is the first one to have access to product innovations and new technologies; - 87% offer better prices to their preferred customers. As mentioned by Steinle and Schiele (2008, p. 11): “In the same way that suppliers strive for “preferred supplier” status with their most important customers, buyers may want to become their core supplier's customer of choice, that is, their “preferred customer.” Considering the statistics just mentioned, having achieved this status also helps in times when capacity exceeds demand, since a preferred customer could also be perceived as continuing to contribute very positively to a supplier's success; in fact, this could even be considered as a “favor returned.” Such an approach by the customer clearly helps to consolidate the relationship with a supplier. Although becoming a preferred customer might not always be critical, it “is very important for the buying firms and, potentially, essential for future success” (Schiele, Veldman, & Hüttinger, 2010, p.2). However, as discussed subsequently, becoming a preferred customer shares some common characteristics with becoming a preferred supplier, but there are differences as well (Nyaga, Whippke, & Lynch, 2010). The concept of preferred customer, which is also labeled “interesting customer” (Christiansen & Maltz, 2002), “attractive customer” (Ellegaard & Ritter, 2006) and “customer of choice” (Bew, 2007 and Ramsay and Wagner, 2009), has been studied since the 1980s, but there is no consensus on its definition and especially on the steps and strategies on how to become a preferred customer (Lindwall et al., 2010). Considering these gaps in the literature, we first come up with a definition of the term “preferred customer.” Then we will answer the following question: How does a buying organization become a preferred customer? We develop a four-step model and propose specific tactics that could help customers obtain and keep this preferential status. Clearly, the intent of the four-step process is to show how an organization can achieve the “preferred customer” status. This can be done over little time or many years, depending on the context, but most often than not, suppliers do not grant this status rapidly. Also, even if we suggest tactics for each of the steps, a customer might choose to use tactics from other steps; it is a matter of strategy, and wanting to accomplish too much too rapidly could well backfire.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
With the reduction of the number of suppliers and the increasing outsourcing of key activities, purchasers need to attract the best suppliers in order to maintain or increase their own competitiveness. In this article, we have suggested a pragmatic approach making it possible to become a preferred customer, through a four-step process: initial attraction, performance, engagement, and maintenance. For some customers, obtaining the preferential status will be easier than for others. The effort needed to pass from one step to the other will be less if the customer can easily offer operational benefits such as price and volume. We believe though that even powerful customers should be aware of the potential attraction that other customers might have on important suppliers, since creating appropriate conditions favoring a key supplier's commitment is a must in many industries. Less powerful customers need to be more creative and choose appropriate tactics in line with their resources (Christiansen & Maltz, 2002). The suggested tactics for each step (see Table 2, Table 3, Table 4 and Table 5) include some that are accessible to smaller customers.