Creating powerful brands in consumer, service and industrial markets

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The first dimension is related to the implementation of industrial services and highlights some key aspects in order to achieve superior service performance. Those aspects are hence creating value to the customer. The performance dimensions consist of three elements. The first element is reliability.

This element is also a lot about trust and the feeling of security which are both a key factor in supplier-buyer relationships. A customer firm needs to know that whatever problem or emergency there might occur, that it can rely on the supplier and the respective contact persons in order to have the problem fixed in the least amount of time.

Creating powerful brands in consumer, service and industrial markets /

We never leave you alone and anytime the machines are running we are working. Any time, any moment you have a problem we will find a solution. Being indispensable for the smooth operation of everyday business, the disposability of spare parts represents one of the most essential services a supplier can offer. Furthermore, service technicians have to do their work in a highly accurate way in order to avoid failures and breakdowns. Hence, accuracy of the service delivery in general can be seen as the subsequent element of the performance dimension.

Moreover, service providers have to convey security and availability and dispel fear of quality loss. That means the customer gets the right machine for the right price and without paying for something extra that he is not using. If we would have to do the varnish in-house there would be a lot of time and money issues involved. Furthermore, consultation includes the aforementioned importance of showing the customer the actual monetary benefits when using the service offering of a supplier.

We again decided to work for them because they are a long-standing partner of us and they were always eager to improve our situation. They are a good and reliable partner. Thus, the following dimension focuses on interpersonal interactions between supplier and customer. Industrial services can be seen as a driver of personal interaction in supplier-buyer relationships. That is why physical presence of the supplier is crucial.

This also includes high availability and a quick response rate. Right now everybody wants to have easier and quicker responses from anything they need to have. The aforementioned factors of trust and commitment play an essential role when it comes to trainings as they provide a unique chance for companies to actively build relationships with the customer and help the customer to efficiently use the machine.

Trainings can be operator and technical trainings, train-the-trainer courses or any related offerings. Thus, trainings serve as an important tool for suppliers to build interpersonal bonds. So my customers are more comfortable buying this machine and a few of them already bought the second machine — not only due to the training but due to the relationship that they feel. And when it is offered it will be used. During trainings you can do a lot and you get to know people. So they have a great value. Developing interpersonal bonds improves problem solving and communication and leads to a better understanding in business relationships.

These benefits were regarded as contributing to the growth of a relationship as such. As mentioned earlier contact with the suppliers personnel like service hotline, service technicians, sales people, etc. Nevertheless, personal interactions should be done with caution as those interfaces include all different kinds of people which provides an area for certain pitfalls and misunderstandings. All of the three dimensions should be in harmony in order to achieve superior service delivery for b2b customers.

Summarizing, it can be seen that all the elements in the certain dimensions are related and interconnected. Some of them overlap in certain points and most of the elements influence each other to some extent. The reliability dimension can be seen as the core requirement for a well-functioning b2b business relationship. Without the identified elements of reliability, availability, flexibility and accuracy successful service delivery is in danger.

4.1 Performance

The results of the interviews suggest that relationships are a key factor in buyer-seller relationships and show great potential for differentiation. One of the most significant insights is that industrial services are vital when it comes to long-term customer relationships and continuous business success. If carried out appropriately and carefully industrial services provide the chance to increase and strengthen long-term customer relationships. It was found out that customers highly appreciate close business relationships including familiarity with contact persons and service technicians which requires a low internal turnover rate.

Familiarity and a good relationship are the basis for mutual trust among business partners and add value to cooperation. It was not just a sales person who tried to sell us something. We felt very well-advised and comfortable because we could discuss everything on another level. That there are people in Austria that can help them with anything they want to know.

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That they know who is the people in the company are […] so they know it is a human company. Visits are very good for us because customers know that we as a supplier have a face. I think it puts a face behind the names. It puts a face behind the company. It makes it more personal. Because when I call I want to know to whom I am talking to and that I know that it works — that is the ultimate thing.

Loyalty is generally believed to be related to profitability.

As loyalty increases, the threat of competitive actions is reduced and therefore, loyalty is generally believed to contribute to a positive market performance. Customer loyalty can bring increased revenue for the firm since loyal customers are willing to pay more for the product and service of a provider that they are attached to.

In other words, loyal customers pay a price premium for their preferred service provider which results in extra revenue for the seller Papassapa The view that price premium is an outcome of service loyalty is also supported by De Chernatony and McDonald , who state that firms with more loyal customers have the ability to command higher prices. Nevertheless, you stay on your chair and do everything for the customer.

In order to answer RQ1, a closer look on different price perceptions was essential. Prices are as closely connected to services as they are to goods.

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As discussed earlier the difficulty in pricing of services should not be overlooked. Nevertheless, it was found out that the price as such is of secondary importance to most customers whereas the perceived value of services is critical. Many perceive additional industrial services as difficult to sell.

A service just proves itself during its realization. As mentioned before, salespeople often focused on the high prices of their quality services as an obstacle whereas customers focused their arguments mainly on value factors, like fast availability, expertise, responsibility or reliability.

Creating powerful brands in consumer, service and industrial markets

Whilst salespeople stated that prices in general are too high, the connection between premium service and premium prices appeared to be more discernible for customers. If a company can ensure its customers certain conveniences, customers often do not hesitate to invest in the tendered service. When it comes to the sales of services as such, most problems occur due to various lapses in the sales process. One of them is that sometimes sales people do not give the client enough reasons and clearly defined arguments on why they should buy a certain service.

The sales force rather focuses on selling per se than on the actual need of the customer and how the service has the potential to satisfy that need. The effects of corporate social responsibility on brand performance: The mediating effect of industrial brand equity and corporate reputation.


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