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Data Warehouse Design Solutions by Michael Venerable, Christopher Adamson

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4

FULFILLMENT

Chapters 2 and 3 introduced the first two stages of the customer relationship, sales and marketing. Marketing creates the demand in the prospective customer's mind to purchase a product. The sale marks the exchange of money for product between customer and vendor. The final stage of the relationship is fulfillment. This step is increasingly seen as critical to long-term business success. Customers do business with companies that continually meet the expectations created by the marketing process. This is true of service and product industries, retailers and manufacturers, and in consumer or business-to-business transactions. The secret of great brand loyalty is carefully managing the balance of expectations and fulfillment.

The concept of fulfillment is easily imagined. An order placed with a catalogue retailer results in a shipment of goods. A trip to a fast-food restaurant results in a quick, fresh meal. The fulfillment process can be as simple as cooking a burger, or as complex as taking a phone order, custom building a personal computer, and then express shipping it to the consumer's home or business. It can end with the transaction and exchange of goods, or continue beyond the initial sale. For example, mail order computer companies typically provide free telephone support for some period after the sale to ensure the customer successfully sets up the device. The consumer's initial experience with the product for a short period after the sale is considered part ...

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