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Customer satisfaction is a multidimensional concept that is derived from the technical satisfaction of the product/service as well as the emotional fulfilment of the customer’s requirements. What some customers perceive as satisfactory others may not, therefore defensive marketing although important it should be coupled with other strategies to ensure overall customer satisfaction.
When a firm aims to keep its current customers defensive marketing is the approach it undertakes, it is a strategy that is directly concerned with minimising customer defection (Fornell & Wernerfelt 1987, p.337).
A firm, therefore, needs to analyse every aspect of the customers’ satisfaction requirement in order to maintain their patronage, however, in being focused on satisfying only current customers a firm may limit the firm’s ability to innovate and move with time hence leading to an ultimate dissatisfaction of current customers as they realise that other more superior options have come on to the market. Customers do not always know that they will develop a need for something.
Take Nokia as an example, while it successfully dominated the handset market and kept its customers satisfied through a defensive strategy and innovations in the handset market it failed to respond to the blackberry and iPhone innovations (Clark, 2009) hence seeing customers defect to try the new technology even though they may have been satisfied thus far by Nokia. A defensive marketing strategy can go so far, other marketing strategies need to also be implemented. As Wilson et al. (2012, p. 433) further asserts, a marketing strategy that incorporates innovation and learning is essential to maintain current customers as it creates more value for customers by improving operating efficiencies
Defensive marketing is also a technique employed to mitigate the harmful and negative impact of dissatisfied customers (Fornell & Wernerfelt 1987, p.338) therefore it eludes to the fact that customers through the operation or services could have become dissatisfied and hence the need to redeem the reputation of the firm. As Wilson et. al. (2012, p.424) mentions providing consistently good service is hard to do and hard to duplicate hence at any point the firm fails to provide good service, customer dissatisfaction may occur. It is therefore vital to ensure that a firm delivers on its promises in order to realise customer satisfaction (Wilson et. al. 2012, p.317) therefore the need for collaboration between the advertised message and the delivered service to ensure ultimate customer satisfaction.
Lastly, customer satisfaction may occur from a relationship with the firm and/or some employees in the firm. Employees can directly affect customer satisfaction and they are considered a marketing tool, they are “…walking billboards from a promotional standpoint” (Wilson et al. 2012, p250) hence ensuring that they are aligned with the overall marketing strategy of the organisation where customer satisfaction is central, ensures that they behave in the right manner to realise customer satisfaction. Luo, Kanuri & Andrews (2014, p.509) assert those firms that are unable to foster a relationship between employees and customer experience decline in return: this can be directly associated with decreased customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction cannot be best realised through one type of marketing strategy but through a vision of the firm that is focused on the customer which includes defensive marketing. Satisfaction could come from various places in the firm, the product, the employees, the service, brand image and so forth. Therefore, ensuring all those aspects are aligned delivering the same message through different strategies will ultimately lead to customer satisfaction.