CUSTOMER FOCUS IN A SERVICE CONTEXT. THE CASE OF REAL ESTATE AGENTS

Ingrid van Rijn,
Yvonne van Everdingen,
Peter Risseeuw,

and
Enno Masurel
The Economic and Social Institute, Free University Amsterdam, The Netherlands

THEORETICAL BACKGROUND AND HYPOTHESES

Definitions of market orientation abound in the field of marketing. Kohli, Jaworski and Kumar (1993) distinguish three main themes among the various definitions of market orientation:

  • customer focus,
  • coordinated marketing, and
  • profitability.

In their own research into the subject, they conducted field interviews with managers and came up with three basic components of market orientation which are summarized by the authors as follows: market orientation refers to the organization wide generation of market intelligence pertaining to current and future needs of customers, dissemination of intelligence within the organization, and responsiveness to it. Comparing their definition of market orientation to the main three themes they distinguished shows that their focus is broader than a customer focus, as they refer to a market focus; interfunctional coordination refers specifically to intelligence dissemination; and they are less concerned with the effects of market orientation and stress the required activities. However, key attributes of the measure (MARKOR) they developed include:

  • a focus on customers of the SBU and the forces that drive their needs and preferences,
  • activity-based items, not business philosophy, and
  • a demarcation of a general market orientation factor and associated components.