5 levels of customer focus

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Philip Kotler distinguishes in his book Marketing management five levels of customer focus that a company can have. He calls this 'Five different levels of company investment in customer relationship building'. We have freely translated this into 5 levels of customer focus. The 5 levels depend on customer value and of course on the added value that the extra service entails. Philip Kotler cites an example of Heinz tomato ketchup in his book. Heinz is not going to ask every customer if the ketchup was tasty. Customers are not waiting for that either. A technology company that supplies highly specialized equipment to hospitals, for example, must provide a great deal of service. The hospital probably does not have specialist knowledge in-house. The order value is also so high that the service level can be offered.

The 5 levels of customer focus are:

  1. Basic marketing - A salesperson sells products
  2. Reactive marketing - A salesperson sells the product and gives the customer the opportunity to call if he or she has questions.
  3. Accountable marketing - The seller contacts the customer shortly after the sale to inquire whether the product meets expectations. The seller also asks for feedback if the product or service can be improved. This helps the company to perform even better.
  4. Proactive marketing - The seller regularly contacts to discuss the use of the product. Tips are also given so that the customer can get even more out of the product.
  5. Partnership marketing - The company works continuously with the customer to ensure that the customer gets even more out of the product. The seller really takes the role of a consultant. The seller completes the product as it were. An example is a technology company that sells highly specialized machines. A few days a month a technician from the manufacturer comes by to monitor and improve the performance of the machine.

The 5 levels of customer focus can, for example, be combined well with the BCG matrix. In the BCG matrix you determine for which customers the margins are high and which are not. Then you connect a service level to this.

 The 5 levels of customer focus schematically  shown

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