Customer 2 customer (C2C)


By
Anuradha Gopal
Lakshmi Priyadarsini
Narmada Gopal
Reshma R. Nair
S2 MBA
Institute of Management in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram
E-mail:
anuradhavenugopal@rediffmail.com
 


Customer 2 Customer or the commonly used acronym C2C is a new marketing mantra for Indian firms and the foreign multinationals.

The quality of a product is vital for the continued success of a business.  A terrific marketing strategy might bring a customer to your door, but if the product you deliver fails to satisfy, they will never return.  And worse, the best advertising of all, word-of-mouth, will turn against you.

Now let's define what is - Customer 2 Customer and Word Of Mouth.

Customer 2 Customer as defined by Philip Kotler:

"Customer 2 Customer includes all activities involving interaction between consumers. Customer 2 Customer activities include auctions between consumers that are facilitated by firms such as e-bay, personal, classified ads, ad games etc."

Word of Mouth as defined by Philip Kotler:

"Personal communication about a product between target buyers and neighbours, friends, family members and associates."

Let's understand the real meaning of Customer 2 Customer and Word of Mouth through an illustration.  This illustration mainly focuses on the success behind Toyota Qualis.

Toyota Qualis is a car that has a tag of a taxi, than that of a personal or a private car.   And one of the sole reasons behind the huge volume of sales is its taxi tag.  Now how did they get this taxi tag?  It all happened because of the word of mouth the best medium of advertisement.  Private taxis are the most roughly-driven cars and if these drivers swear by a car, then it's the best ad for its reliability and toughness.

How were they able to win over these drivers?  They won over them because they delighted them. Delighted them means - they were able to provide delight to their customers by understanding their specific personal interests, anticipating their needs, exceeding their expectations, and making every moment and aspect of the relationship a pleasant - or better yet, an exhilarating - experience.

This illustration proves only one aspect of Customer 2 Customer i.e. Word of mouth.

Now coming to the second aspect, i.e.  C2C's role in consumer decision making.

Often we find that in a consumer decision process several individuals get involved.  Each of them plays an influencing role. At times, more than one role may be played by an individual. These roles are:

    1. Initiator

    This is a person who sows the seed in a prospective customer's mind to buy the product.  This person may be a part of the customer's family like spouse or parents.  Alternatively the person may be a friend, a relative, a colleague or even the sales person.

    2. Influencer

    Influencer is a person within or outside the immediate family of the customer who influences the decision process.  The individual perceived as an influencer is also perceived as an expert. In consumer durable sale the dealer plays an influencing role.

    3. Decider

    He is the person who actually takes the decision.  In a joint family often it's the head of the family or the elders in the family who take a decision.  But in nuclear and single families and with the increase in the literacy among women and number of working couples, one finds more often than not, decisions are joint. Husband, wife and even the entire family taking the decision, particularly on major purchases, is quite common in urban and metro areas.  The decider/s considers both economic and non-economic parameters before selecting a brand.

It is important to note that the people who play these roles seek different values in the product or service.  The perception of the value is to a large extent influenced by their prior experience of others, media reports and the marketing cues created by the firm.  These values, which may also be referred to as, market value is the potential of a product or service to satisfy customer's needs and wants.

So in this 21 st century the three most important questions that a marketing personnel / department face are:

    * How can one provide real customer delight? 

    * What marketing, sales, and customer support changes can one make to create customer delight? 

    * How can one make one's customer happier / delighted, so that they in turn can make the prospective client/customer happier?

The challenge before the marketing personnel is tough and demanding.  So as the saying goes....
"As the going gets tough, the tough gets going."
 


Anuradha Gopal
Lakshmi Priyadarsini
Narmada Gopal
Reshma R. Nair
S2 MBA
Institute of Management in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram
E-mail:
anuradhavenugopal@rediffmail.com
 

Source : E-mail March 31, 2005

 
 
 

 

Important Note :
Site Best Viewed in Internet
Explorer in 1024x768 pixels
Browser text size: Medium