INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR INNOVATIVE RESEARCH IN MULTIDISCIPLINARY FIELD Understanding the Role of Service and Value Co-creation in Sales Functions

Kumar Mohanty
2017 unpublished
INTRODUCTION: Sales today is primarily a function of value that the consumer perceives in the product features, attributes, and the entire value chain. Today it is important to ensure a holistic approach to marketing that aligns and integrates all stake holders including the channels, the sales personnel, the product, the pricing and the promotional aspects towards the company philosophy so that the product/service stands out as distinct in the minds of the consumers. It is also important is to
more » ... understand the internal customers -both the intermediaries and the company sales personnel. The focus today is to look beyond Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning and focus on value or the utility that the product/service has to offer so that the customer will be able to make a purchase decision after clear evaluation of information available to him/her and the alternatives available thereby. Today there is a paradigm shift from customers being just offered a product or service, to engaging the customer in creating a value for the object or service. Engagement in creation of value makes the customer a cocreator of value and is being referred to as "Prosumer". To be competitive, today companies, have to move from mass customization to a process of collaborative product development, customer innovation, customer empowerment, and customer involvement in order to have a competitive advantage over the competitors. Today engaging with the customer pre purchase and post sales plays an important role in creating a win-win situation for both the company and the customers. LITERATURE REVIEWS: Pierks et al. (2012) and Hienwarth et al. (2014) focus on the ecosystem, wherein both business and customers interact and innovate involving end consumers, distributors, suppliers and the company sales force, as an important thrust area in creating value. The Ecosystem plays a vital role in the process of co-creation of value. Hence, the focus of most marketers today is to engage with customers from pre sales to post sales and use various tools like Customer Relation Management , online feedback and social media in order to reach out to customers and make them aware of various products and services along with responding to their queries. Accordingly, companies focus in the process of creating special task forces to work upon co creation of value through collating data and studying the changing preferences of customers and competitor moves in the market, analyzing customer feedback, implementing best practices and reducing customer dissonance. Listening to customers helps companies to engage effectively with the customers and help increase the process of affiliation between the product and the customer. Consumers collaborate with companies or with other consumers to produce things of value. As a result the gap between producers and consumers is blurring (Tapscott and Williams, 2006) and a person can seamlessly shift from consumer to contributor and creator of product, services, and its value. As a result, it is observed that a lot of focus has been there on the word 'prosumer' which was first coined by Alvin Toffler in 1980, to emphasize the novelty of asking individuals to simultaneously play the role of consumer and producer (Kotler, 1986; Tapscott and Williams, 2006). Value is always co-created with the customer (Vargo and Lusch, 2008). The concept of value co-creation proposes a value system where producer and customer in a relational system create value through the integration of their resource (Lusch, 2011) and value is realized and determined by the customer (Ramirez 1999; Grönroos 2004; Payne et al., 2008; Vargo and Lusch, 2008). Customers do not make purchases for the sake of making a purchase; rather they seek a "value" through the service. Studies have argued that customers possess unique knowledge about their preferences (Prahlad and Ramaswamy 2004) and so their involvement increases success in terms of product -customer need fit (Alam, 2002), profit and market share (Joshi and Sharma, 2004). Through a process of co creation, firms and customers exchange Abstract: In today's market a customer buys a product not just for transactional value but for a value in use. Companies tend to look at the customer as a co-creator of value by engaging with the customers through learning, dialogue, mailers, and social media thereby following a collaborative approach for customized products and services. Accordingly, companies have moved from a post sales reactive strategy, to a presales proactive engagement with the customer leading to reduced dissonance and increased collaborative value creation. This paper critically analyses the essence of collaborative value creation and discusses the critical role of customers, intermediaries, and communication in current business scenario.
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