This essay is a critical literature review of Relationship Marketing in relation to customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and technology. In this review, I will provide a brief orientation of relationship marketing; identify the benefits of relationship marketing for companies and customers and critically analyse the concept of RM with regards to customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and analyse the role of technology in relationship marketing.
Leahy (2011:651) defined relationship marketing as “attracting and keeping customers for a long period of time”. RM is used by firms to change consumer attitudes and increase the frequency of purchase in a business using marketing techniques such as promotions and advertising. According to Ndubisi and Chan (2005), relationship marketing provides an organisation the opportunity to get access to the right information about their customers, meet the customers’ needs effectively, efficiently and gain competitive advantage. In addition, Gronroos (1994:9) suggests that relationship marketing is a new model in marketing and it’s about organisation “establishing, maintain and enhance relationships with customers at a profit so that objectives of the parties involved are met. This is achieved by mutual exchange and the fulfilment of promises.” Promises may be made by the company to their customers; yet, what remains to be seen are if the promises are fulfilled or ultimately broken. Szmigin et al. (2005) argues that due to the vast presence of relationship marketing in several industries, it can be difficult defining relationship marketing that accommodates all the relationships. Ravald and Gronroos (1996) argue that relationship marketing is not restricted to the firm maintaining a close relationship with customers; it’s also about the firm establishing and maintaining a partnership with stakeholders such as suppliers, retailers, and the community.
As a result globalisation, Geddie et al. (2005) viewed relationship marketing through the prism of technology, businesses have the opportunity to store vital information in their database concerning customers’ shopping habits, thus using the data to render a better customer service and establish a long-term sustainable relationship with customers; perhaps resultant in increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Peppers et al. (1999:151) referred to relationship marketing as “one-to-one marketing” and suggested that businesses must be dynamic and fast in their approach and response to individual customers’ needs that are ever-changing and unpredictable. Therefore, organisations must be prepared to provide bespoke products or services that meet individual consumers’ needs at the time the products are requested (Peppers et al., 1999; McIlory and Barrett, 2000).
The benefits of relationship marketing for an organisation include creating an advocate for the firm as described by Harwood et al. (2008). The consumer(s) satisfied with the firm’s goods and services will...