Value Marketing Strategy for after Sales Service of Select White Goods Using the Value Gap Model: An Assessment of Consumers in Delhi and Mumbai, India †

By Rao, Mohan B.; Sivakumar, S. N., V | South Asian Journal of Management, October-December 2017 | Go to article overview

Value Marketing Strategy for after Sales Service of Select White Goods Using the Value Gap Model: An Assessment of Consumers in Delhi and Mumbai, India †


Rao, Mohan B., Sivakumar, S. N., V, South Asian Journal of Management


INTRODUCTION

Indian economy witnessed rapid economic growth post-liberalization from 1990s. With the entry of foreign players there was competition to domestic manufacturing and services sector. The reforms led to rise in middle and upper middle class income levels and affordability of quality goods increased and demand for white goods has been on increasing trend. While the information availability on various products has become easy through internet and other social media, consumer is able to make decision to purchase based on features, price and quality of the products. Marketing strategies of most companies focus on competing on product features, pricing and differentiation to capture the market share. However, with increased awareness and expectations of consumers on after sales service is leading companies to shift their focus of marketing to after sales service to retain customers and sustain business.

One of the leading consulting firms in their report on Indian economy stated that Indian economy is poised to grow further to become fifth largest economy by 2025. It also estimated that the consumer spending is expected to increase to USD3.6 tn by 2020 (McKinsey Global Institute, 2007). Another study by a leading Indian consulting organization mentioned that it is the huge middle class which drive consumption of consumer durables, food and housing. All eyes are focussed on India as there are increasing disposable incomes. Consumer durables industry in India is categorized into white goods, kitchen appliances or brown goods and consumer electronics devices. White goods have refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, microwave ovens (IBEF, 2016). Industry sources observe that across the consumer durable industry customer service and technology have improved significantly. More importantly customer service helps ensure that customers are engaged with the brand they bought. In today's VUCA world, companies are constantly re-evaluating their strategy to enable them in differentiating from competition. Many companies are discovering the need to go beyond technology. Service gives amazing competitive advantage to a company (Capgemini Consulting, 2011).

EVOLUTION AND TRENDS IN CUSTOMER SERVICE

Customers, who acquire various types of durables ranging from refrigerators to computers, require customer support at some time during their utilization or product lifespan to ensure that products perform as and when required in a trouble free manner, thereby giving peace of mind to customer. Customer service an essential component of customer support is used by most to mean set of related activities to connect to consumer with respect to product the customer acquired. Customer service generally includes factors like delivery on time; customer education, efficient management of customer queries, product check-up, product training, billing and payment collection. Leading authors mentioned that any customer service must have four characteristics, viz., uniqueness; consistency; deliver the core brand promise; and generate awareness. Many authors assign a lot of importance to customer support or after sales service for various reasons like it is a potential source of revenue; it is critical to keeping customer satisfied and strive for a long term relationship; and has a definite role in success rate of adoption of new products. More often than not dissatisfied customers can act spoil sport and upset sales.

Several authors mention that customers were more willing than ever to assist and participate in the service process on a self-service basis and expect 24x7 hours of service by default. More importantly customers expect manufacturer/service provider to be monitoring their communications, complaints, and compliments, regardless of channel (Capgemini Consulting, 2011).

Globally manufacturers are updating customer service strategies to ensure that they address the issue of mobility of customer; be available across all channels and all the time; incorporate self-service tools; be available on social media platform and more importantly live chat with consumer. …

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