Its highest sales revenue is derived from the sales of Leno brand of computers. It is also the Authorized Warranty Service Provider (SWAPS) for Leno, that s, it is the only one which can process after-sales services to customers. Printing and Imaging devices, computer accessories and point-of-sales (POS) systems also form part of its product range. Organization Structure Its staffs consist of several members and its organizational structure is depicted in the chart below.
Managing Director Personal Assistant Accounts Executive Accounts Clerks Marketing Executives Officers Human Resource Sales Executive Head of Retail Division Clerical Staffs Customer Service Store Manager Store Clerks IT Engineer IT Technicians Helpers Figure 1. 1 – Organization chart Customers As a distributor and retailer, it is a business to business (BIB) as well as a business to customer (BBC) company. Its BIB customers consist of IT resellers around Mauritius and its BBC customers consist of corporate organizations which have global contracts with Leno Company and end-users.
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From its internal audit, it was reported that 63% of its market consisted of BIB companies, and only 37% of the BBC. Position on the market IT. Com together with its close competitor, HAM Technologies, are the only two distributors of Leno products in Mauritius. Both companies are located in the tragic region of Port- Louis and it is a region where most of the IT resellers of the island are concentrated. However, HAM is not the only competitor on Page 1 the market. The strategic group matrix below shows its different competitors and their position on the market.
High HAM IT. Com Medium MAC Supervise Low Competitive Affordable Price Figure 1. 2 – Strategic Group Matrix The competitors in the matrix are all IT distributors in the country and they specializes in different welkin brands of computers as described below: HAM Technologies (HAM) – Distributor for Dell, Acre and Leno brands Lea Communications and Informatics Ltd (LLC) – Distributor of Vivisection and Apple brands MAC Ltd – Distributor of HP brand Supervise Ltd – Distributor of Fajitas Siemens, Samsung and Toshiba brands Since IT. Mom has so many close competitors on the market, a price war is inevitable amongst them. Competition level is very high, making it difficult to maintain market share. As Mauritius is a small island with only 1. 3 million people, the market is very small and it makes it difficult for businesses to survive. Below are the percentages of market share that each distributor holds: IT. Com Ltd – 20% Lea Communications and Informatics Ltd (LLC) – 22% MAC Ltd – Supervise Ltd – 16% HAM is the biggest company on the market with the majority of market share at 24%. IT. Com is at the 3rd place with 20% of total market share.
But what differentiates it from its competitors is that it has a good customer service which makes up the strength of the company and it is looking forward to increase it by giving advanced training to its customer service personnel and reviewing company procedures to make it more flexible for customers. Page 2 Turnover IT. Com has enjoyed continuous growth in its turnover since it started its business activities in 2002. The chart below shows the increases since 2006, but it can also be seen that since 2010, turnover has been growing at a reduced pace. Consequence of this situation is the world economic recession since 2008. 41 Turnover (Million Rupees) 140 139 138 137 136 135 134 133 132 131 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Year Diagram 1. 3 – Turnover since 2006 The sustained growth in the last 4 years is credited to its entire staff, especially its sales personnel and customer service officers. Sales and After-Sales services Sales Revenue Per Product Range 4% 42% Printing and Imaging Computer Accessories 38% POS systems Diagram 1. 4 – Sales Revenue Page 3 As the Parent principle goes, 80% of the company’s profit is derived from the sales of Leno products and printing and imaging devices.
The diagram above shows the various sales revenues of its different products. As seen, the least revenue is from the sales of computer accessories. The company’s BBC market brings in 46% of total revenue whereas the BIB market brings in 54%, showing that there is more potential for growth in market share in that sector. Page 4 Research Proposal Date: 31 August 2012 To: The Manager, IT. Mom Ltd From: The Research Executive, Precision Research Ltd Subject: Service analysis between IT. Com and its customers 1. 0 Background From the research brief sent to us by IT. Com Ltd (IT. Mom), we are pleased to respond to its queries concerning the company’s interaction with its customers. IT. Com is a distributor and exclusive after-sales service provider of personal computers for Leno brand of products since 2002. It also supplies printing and imaging devices, point-of-sales (POS) systems and computer accessories as add-value expansion and market take-over strategy. It is a business-to-business (BIB) company as well as a business-to-customer (BBC) company. It distributes on an intensive mode to all IT retailers and Leno global-account holders across Mauritius.
Its retail division has enabled it to interact personally with its end-user market. The company holds the 3rd place on the benchmark of IT distribution with 20% of market share. Its other competitors are HAM Technologies, Supervise Ltd, MAC Ltd and Lea Communications and Informatics Ltd. To move ahead of its competitors, it is planning to provide advanced training to its sales and customer service personnel in order for them to strengthen the company’s reputation as an excellent service provider. 4% of the company’s total sales revenue is brought in by the BIB market whilst its BBC market fetches 46%, making it a potential sector to explore further. Since it started its business activities, turnover has been growing steadily; but in the past 2 years, the company’s growth has been stagnant. This reduction can be explained by a decrease in economic activity worldwide, which is recession. 1. 1 Target Customers The company wants to target the whole population, all social status included for Leno, printing and imaging devices and computer accessories.
For the POS systems, the target market is videodiscs, restaurants, hotels, drug stores and supermarkets. 1. 2 Rationale for the Research Interaction or communication with customers is an essential part of any business; be it on the sales level, promotion level or the service level. As stated in the brief, IT. Com is struggling hard to compete with its competitors on the market. The economic recession has entailed in competitors reducing prices to increase demand for their products and this resulted in a price war among all IT strictures on the market.
Following the new “invisible” trend, the company has reduced prices for its products but to a lesser degree as compared to that of Page 5 competitors. It wants to differentiate itself from them by giving quality after-sales service to all its customers and clients rather than competing on the price level. The company strives to give the best possible service to its customers, whether it is a reseller or a customer and the method of communication used can be face-to-face, telephone or online. In this world of technological sophistication, correspondence has been abolished.
Therefore, this method of communication is excluded from this proposal. The research is to help in improving all the process of after-sales service by making it more flexible for its different customers and to respond to customer queries efficiently. The company wants its customers to be satisfied from the first contact they have with its staffs, to the purchase and also after. That is why it wants Every customer has different needs and preferences. The frontline sales staffs are constantly in touch with the different customers of the company; be it the resellers or the clients visiting the shop. IT. M wants to analyses the method of communication which is the most preferred by customers so that it can segment and target the customers according to communication preference and also improve it. It is planning to boost up sales level and eventually turnover as the latter has been stagnant for the last 2 years. To promote its products, the company has various communication mix campaigns including personal selling and direct marketing to the BIB market and it is widely used to boost up sales. This includes facets-face interaction, especially in the shop, phone interaction and online responses to queries.
The company wants to obtain information about what form of personal interaction customers prefer and why so that it can be more efficient in its personal communications. 2. 0 Research Objectives The objectives set below will help to understand as to why IT. Com wants to get an insight of its interaction with different customers, that is, face-to-face, telephone, or online and how it can improve that interaction. Customer interaction is not only with the company’s sales staff but also with other staffs of its various departments.
In this case, we assume that the company wants to improve the service its sales staffs are levering and to see whether there should be some improvements. 1. Identify what type of interaction the company has with its different type of customers. A. Determine whether the interaction has been effective with its different customers b. Assess whether there is room for improvement c. Assess the effects of different contacts on sales volume 2. Examine the attitudes of different customers towards these contacts a. Assess the reaction of customers towards the different types of interaction b.
Determine the level of satisfaction with each type of interaction c. Examine competitors’ interaction tit their customers and compare it to that of IT. Com 3. Determine the type of contact customers prefer a. Examine how competitors use customers’ preferred contact method to their advantage b. Identify what form of contact customers often use and the number of sales made from that contact Page 6 c. Determine why customers prefer the chosen contact over others d. Determine how helpful the preferred contact is to customers 4. Identify the most important characteristics of effective contact. . Examine whether customer queries have been well answered and understood b. Examine whether customer problems have been solved efficiently and promptly c. Examine whether customer requirements have been fulfilled d. Identify whether sales staffs are courteous towards its different Methodology adopted Precision Research Ltd (Precision Research) believes in answering its client’s queries as best as possible. In respond to IT. Com queries, we are providing the following methods to meet its research objectives described in section 2. 0 above.
Our research centre will provide a mixture of both, primary and secondary researches and we will also state the reason behind the methods adopted. . 1 Secondary Research Desk research or secondary research is undertaken before any other research method to avoid duplication that may exist and to have a better insight of the research undertaken beforehand. Crouch and Housemen (2003) defined secondary research as “Data that has already been published by someone else, at some other time period, usually for some other reason than the present researcher has in mind.
The researcher is therefore a secondary user of already existing data which can be obtained and worked on at a desk. ” The main characteristic of secondary research is hat it is cost reducing in nature and usually forms the basis for primary research. Secondary research can be internal and external. Internal research information can be obtained from IT. Coma’s internal databases, past survey results, etc. Information for external research can be obtained from external sources like newspapers, business magazines, statistical bureaus, internet, etc.
Precision Research will start by gathering all possible secondary information to form the base for our research objectives. 3. 1. 1 Internal Secondary Research Information for internal secondary research will be gathered from IT. Mom’s marketing department, technical department, accounts department and sales department. Our research team will request the participation of each department heads to fully collaborate with them. The following internal sources will be used for our research: a. Results of past customer satisfaction surveys b. Company database on after-sales service recipients c.
Number of order bagged through different types of contact d. Customer databases e. SOOT analysis conducted by the marketing department f. Recent competitor analysis g. Feedback form from customers page 7 h. IT. Coma’s website 3. 1. 2 Procedure The company’s internal information gathered will help in answering part of objectives 1 b, LLC, AAA and b. Customer analysis, feedback sheets and the company’s website will be used to assess competitors’ action, strength and weaknesses whilst company’s data will be used to analyses its gains or losses from different contacts in terms of can be used for devising questions for later surveys.
Internal desk research will also provide feedback on customers who are known for their loyalty and cooperation to IT. Com. Information on customer’s cooperation is very helpful to our agency in terms of time and cost effectiveness. . 1. 3 External Secondary Research As the name goes, resources obtained from external secondary research are obtained outside the company and they are as follows: a. Newspaper articles b. Business magazines c. Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industries d. National Computer Board e. Statistical bureau f.
Competitors’ websites 3. 1. 4 Procedure The sources above are mainly numbers which can be of use during field research. In a broader point of view, the combined information will show the level of technological know-how across the country and hence a forecast of customers’ preferred method of intact which needs to be confirmed by primary research. Like any other research method, desk research has its drawbacks in terms of accuracy and relevance. The information obtained is for general use and it is not linked directly to our research objectives.
For accurate and relevant data for the research, we will need data provided by primary research also. 3. 2 Quantitative Research This type of research design is primarily used for measurement purposes which can be used for statistical analysis. Wilson (2003) described quantitative research as “research that is undertaken using a structured research approach with a sample of he population to produce quantifiable insights into behavior motivations and attitudes. ” The following methods will be used to obtain quantitative data. 3. 2. Methodology adopted and Justification – Survey Different survey methods will be used to answer part of objectives 1 a, AAA, b, c, ad, and e. Survey is structured in nature and it enables the collection of information from a large number of people. Below Page 8 are short descriptions of the different methods of survey proposed and the rationale for the choosing these methods. As we have to find out what form of contact IT. Mom’s customers prefer, we will select the sample participants for telephone and internet interview through the findings of secondary research.
The questionnaire will be based on a set of 20 questions, each covering the mentioned objectives. Face-toffee internet questionnaire may take up to 10 minutes. Face-to-face interviews This method consists of asking a few questions to the clients to gather their opinions and observe their reactions. Face-to-face interview is Precision Research’s favorite method of survey as it allows us not only to have a personal contact with the interviewer but also to visualize the body language of the latter.
To have an unbiased result of our research, it is very important that our subjects voice out the genuine feelings of their interaction with the company. Sample and Incentives We envisage of posting an interviewer outside the door of the company’s shop to have the immediate reaction of direct customers’ contact with IT. Com. From our 12 years experience in the research field, we have seen that this method of operation provides genuine responses from the subjects as a result of fresh experience which TTS less strain on their mind.
However, this survey method will not be used for the resellers as they are usually busy people and difficult of access. We assume that an incentive is not necessary but as an expression of gratitude towards the people visiting the shop, a BIB flash drive will be given as gift to every respondent. Telephone interviews This method will be for the other direct customers who have not visited the shop for a while and for the resellers who will accept to give us some of their time. Like face- to-face interview, telephone interview also will be of 10 minutes duration.
This method of interview is conducted by phone where we call the respondent at their home or on their mobile. The advantage we have with this type of interview is that it is convenient for both the researcher and the respondent and the information received is reliable most of the time. The interviewer may also deduce when the respondent is being biased. However, one of the major drawbacks of this method is that it is difficult to retain the customer over the phone but this obstacle can be reduced with the help of IT. Coma’s marketing executive who can provide us the contact details of cooperative customers.