Yllka Azemi – A Celebration of Faculty Research ~IUN~

Hello everyone. I would love to start the presentation with
a question. How many of you have purchased a product or
service from a company and you were dissatisfied and you have never ever
wanted to go back to that company again? Please raise your hands. Almost everyone. Well, bad news. You have contributed to the 75 billion dollar
cost that companies experience as a result of customer dissatisfaction. No pressure, the blame is not on you. Only 50% of the companies – in fact all companies
– 50% of the time they deliver marketing strategies that make
customers happy. So there is a huge gap between what the customer
expects and what the company delivers in terms of
marketing. There is a reached consensus among practitioners
and researchers that that’s a result of companies’ misunderstanding of customers expectations. According to existing literature, only 5%
of the customers voice their expectations and voice their complaint. I was always impressed and intrigued by this
huge gap, large gap, between the customer expectations
and the company’s marketing deliverables. Hence, this was the point of departure to the marketing model that I’ve developed
to support businesses of Gary. I guess I was just lucky enough to be in
the right place at the right time. I have recently read an article in ‘Crusader’
that was talking about a smallbusiness.com report that placed Gary to be one of the 100 most
attractive cities in the nation – small cities in the nation – to start a business. So how amazing is that? To develop the model, I’ve collected the data
using 2 different data collection stages. In the first stage, I met with the owners
of small businesses that were attending workshops in marketing that I was living. There, I was teaching them 54 different marketing
strategies that they could use in context to product, price, place, promotion, and situations when a customer
is dissatisfied he or she has experienced an incident. So I was giving them recommendations and recovery strategies that they should have used in order
to make the customer happy. I’ve met with those owners a couple times
per week – two times per week –
for about four weeks. I came up with 3 main findings. The first finding was that companies were
struggling to use marketing strategy practices in the adequate
way to bring the customers in. The second finding was companies brought the
customers in, but the customers were experiencing incidents
and the company was failing to make the customer happy and to turn that customer into
a loyal one. The third finding was customers were different. Customers in Gary are different. So one strategy might satisfy one customer
and another, the same strategy might not satisfy the other customer. So I’ve moved on to the second stage of the
data collection. In there, I’ve met with owners of the small
businesses in one-to-one meetings – interviews – and I was I was
aiming to understand more in-depth what drives customers’ expectations. The information I got helped me to group customers
into 2 different groups. The first customer type were customers that
were really passionate to support businesses of Gary. The second customer type were those that were
more self-centric, and they evaluated the relationship with the
company in contexts of the price. So they were more self-centric. After that, I have looked across all the 54
different marketing strategies and I was trying
to identify: How do customers from both the groups evaluate or shape the
evaluation, or their perception of, the marketing strategy touch-point that was
used by the companies? I have identified that those 2 groups were
similar in only 3 marketing strategy touch-points or practices. On all other components they were different. This information helped me to provide recommendations
to businesses of Gary on how to bring customers in, but that wasn’t
enough – I didn’t come up with recommendations to support them how to turn those customers into loyal customers. So I’ve used Frustration-Regression Theory
to do so, which basically suggests that you’ll be able
to understand a dissatisfied person – whether he or she is aggressive – based
on the language that they use. In marketing, basically aggression suggests
that a customer is dissatisfied the most because he or she considers that the incident
that he or she experienced as being of the highest importance. Frustration refers to the moderate importance
according to them, and then there are customers who were just
relaxed and they didn’t care about the failure. So I’ve used this logic and I’ve ranked the
evaluations in terms of aggression, frustration, and relaxation of the customer across all
the 54 different touch-points. That resulted into subgrouping of customers
into 6 different subgroups. So we have aggression-aggression, relaxed-frustration,
frustration-frustration, frustration-aggressive, relaxed-relaxed, and
aggressive-frustrated customers. Then, I came up with strategies – marketing
strategies – that were recommended to businesses to be applied when dealing
with all the types of customers. So recommendations for each of the customer
subgroups. To make life easier for the employees, I have
automated everything. I’ve developed a platform which has 4 different
stages. The first stage provides deliverables, or
determinants, that help the employee to identify what type of customer the employee is dealing
with. After that is identified then the platform
sends the employee directly to the second page, which provides solutions – marketing solutions
– that the employee should use in order to make the customer happy, regardless that she or he
was dissatisfied. Then the platform performs automatic follow-ups
with the customer to ensure that the relationship between the customer and the company is there
and the customer is happy. On the next stage – the final stage – the
platform provides promotional strategies to the company that basically tells the company:
those are the marketing strategies that you should use to
further communicate with the customer. When I think of this model, I think of the
statement by Khalil Gibran: “Work is love made visible.” The reason why I think about that is that
I really loved working on this project, addressing the research gap, and supporting
businesses of Gary. The visibility is the platform itself which
can easily be turned into an app, and I truly believe that
this would support businesses in Gary specifically, but also those in
Northwest Indiana. Thank you. [applause]

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