Usually, businesses are built around profitability and customers are the biggest driver of profitability. Customers are usually described as the most important actors in the business chain. Without them, there would not even be a need for the business to exist, nor the said transaction to occur. Customers fund the business with the intent of an exchange for certain service from the seller. Their funds are operated to finance businesses and to keep businesses alive. Their relevance can not be overemphasized.
Hence, the terms of relationship between the sellers and the customer is a big issue of discourse in the business. How should businesses relate with their customers? How do they relate with customers? Are there responsibilities that businesses owe customers? How do businesses see their customers? Questions like these and many more spring up conversations that are customer-centered.
Studies have shown that usually, there are two ways that businesses relate or see their customers. There’s the service paradigm and warfare paradigm. There’s a clear distinction between both as will be discussed below:
Service paradigm: businesses that operate using a service paradigm often see their customers as people that they serve. They make conscious efforts to study their needs and craft services that fit customers’ needs. They pay more attention to them without milking the customers. The goal here is to make the customers comfortable enough so they can patronize more and spend more. When customers get comfortable with certain businesses, they build some sort of trust and continue patronizing. This is the goal for a business that adopts a service paradigm.
Businesses like this pay attention to after-sales service, warranty periods, complaints, customer’s comfort and technical support. Services like these build trust and guarantee returns for the business.
Warfare paradigm: businesses here relate with their customers solely on how much profit they can extract from them. They primarily see customers as funders before seeing them as people they owe or that deserve certain services. This style is famously described with the saying that “all is fair in love, war and business”. Customer retention, comfort and trust are not usually held as of priority here. Rather, they’re secondary after profit has been assured. So services like warranty periods or after-sales services and technical support are not ascertained here.
More often than not, businesses aim at the service paradigm. So they make efforts to put customers first. Businesses are also advised to do so. Certain checks are put in place to make sure that business aligns with being service oriented. Activities like support assessment, customer feedback and business ratings are good measures of business’s performance from the point of view of customers.
Services paradigm is not against profit maximization as that remains a key motivator in starting and sustaining businesses. In fast, it is notable that businesses that implement it are likelier to last longer, hence stay more profitable. Buying customer’s trust is the best way to make sure customers spend more. On the flip side, maximizing all profit on a customer’s first purchase is likely to stop the customer from coming back to such business. Conclusively, the relationship paradigm that exists between the business and the customer is crucial to the business.