Beer plays a very important part during leisure time in Australia. In fact, beer is part and parcel of the Aussie (Kiwi) culture. Australians rival the Germans as some of the world’s highest beer consumers. The wine industry has made great strides in recent years and has captured some market share, but beer still remains an important drink in Australia.
“The majority of Australian beers are unlike the English beers as they are all pretty much of the lager variety.” The lager variety is very popular with many Australian consumers. These beers are normally kept at cold temperatures and they are carbonated. The standard alcohol content in Australian beer is 5%. Some of the popular Australian beers are: Crown Lager, Coopers, Boags Premium, Victoria Bitter and Melbourne Bitter.
This essay is going to analyze the following parts of the industry; customer services and relationship activities. This analysis and study will be done, with lots of emphasis and reference to Cooper’s brewery, a brewery in southern Australia. To analyze the service quality part, the GAP model will be used. The service quality part will deal with issues such as, service activities, handling of complaints, staff issues (training, empowerment) etc. Another important part that is going to be looked into is how the company and the beer industry as a whole maintain their relationship with customers. Issues to be looked into will include; what do they do to keep customers and create loyalty; such as create value, constant improvement, loyalty programs etc. This paper also seeks to show some of the necessary adjustments, the beer industry can implement to improve service delivery and provide better services.
GAP model and measure of service quality
(Diagram adapted from: http://www.degromoboy.com/cs/gap.htm)
The diagram above shows a model which is used to measure service quality within a company. The dotted line separates the company, with the external world. This is very significant as it depicts that in determining service quality, they are two main players and they are both very important. “Expected service is a function of word of mouth communication, personal need and past experience, and perceived service is a product of service delivery and external communications to consumers.”
Cooper’s brand portfolio is made up of traditional ales, stouts and lagers. Since Thomas Cooper, started the brewery in the then New South Australian colony, the brewery has always been dedicated to offering beer of the highest quality to its customers. One would only think that Cooper Brewery has only been dedicated to product quality, but according to Cooper Brewery’s website, we are told from its earliest days, the company has never understated the importance of service quality. “As his brewery flourished, Thomas delivered by horse and cart direct to the homes of his customers, a Coopers tradition which survived until the 1920’s.”
Beer service quality, takes into account, the way beer is served in the bar and how the customer is treated. Australians are known to have been one of the first people to take advantage of the refrigerator technology, to improve service delivery in pubs. Australian lagers are usually served cold. This suits very much the climate which is hot and dry and thus the cold beer provides a refreshing feeling.
With respect to cooper’s brand portfolio, “Coopers’ bottled beers are characterized by their secondary fermentation technique – some yeast remains in the bottle after bottling – thus the bottled beer contains some sediment. There are two schools of thought with regards to the sediment – some drinkers like to mix the sediment throughout the beer by tipping or rolling the beer before drinking, while others prefer to decant the beer into a glass leaving (most of) the sediment at the base of the bottle.” Cooper’s beers are available in the tap in some South Australia and Victoria bars. In the rest of Australia they are available as specialty beers
Beer service quality is further advanced by the provision of extra services to clients. Though a very ancient tradition which is rapidly vanishing, Australian pubs usually provide cheap accommodation for revelers and travelers. Some Australian bars, have some wide open space near the bar, for hosting of beer garden parties and small family events. Reintroducing a modern version of this for example a budget hostel, will help continue this tradition.
Customer and External relationships
In the modern business environment, offering quality customer service is the key to every successful business, the beer industry included. Cooper’s brewery has adopted the internet to foster good relations with its clients. Their website, http://www.coopers.com.au/, is very user friendly. In addition there is a complaint form customers can fill if they want express any opinion they have about the company. Drinkers of Cooper’s beer can also join the Cooper’s club. Membership to this club offers brings them many benefits, such as press releases about the company new products, invitation to social events offered by the company, and lots of information of interest to the member.
Social Responsibility and Environmental Issues
Cooper brewery sponsors charities. On their website, any eligible charity can apply for funding from the company. This demonstrates that Cooper’s Brewery takes its social responsibility very seriously. These social activities, Cooper Brewery is doing help enhance the firms public image and portray the company as a socially responsible business entity. In 2001, Cooper opened a new site, which is both modern and environmentally friendly. In the building process of the site, state of the art equipment for producing quality beer, using less water and energy were incorporated. “The objective has been to reduce water and energy use, and to enhance recycling and the elimination of certain wastes. The brewery that operates today not only produces some of Australia’s favorite beers, but it does so whilst minimizing its effect on the environment.”
Recommendations made in marketing plan:
Ø To extend the product life cycle, Coopers should maintain its market share and competitive advantage in the industry via advertising through various media avenues, diverting customers
Ø Paying attention to their product range and attract them to buy Coopers. Moreover, do more sponsorship and promotional activities and thus create an interest in loyalty to Cooper’s beer range. Coopers should also establish a close relationship with its customers and do market research regularly to get updated information of its customer needs.
Ø In addition, Coopers must keep on improving its beer range and invent new products to provide customer satisfaction.
Implementation of given recommendations
The above recommendations will be implemented using the following five step plan. Following the steps outline in the box will ensure that the recommendations are aptly implemented and maximum benefits are obtained. Each step will be dealt with in relation to the steps given below. It should be noted that most of the recommendations mentioned above have already been implemented by Cooper’s or they are in the process of being implemented. Thus this section will specifically delve more on the actual process of implementation rather than the actual things to be implemented. You may also be interested in PESTEL Analysis beer industry
B2B and stockholder feedback
The first part will entail Cooper’s asking for feedback from various stack holders of the company. Competitors, consumers, employees can be asked to give feedback on what improvements they will like to see being made to the plan. This can be done using paper questionnaires or online questionnaires. This feedback can be then collated and the marketing plan adjusted accordingly. Return on investment on the resources channeled into the project can be calculated based on the feedback received.
Finding appropriate sales tools
The second phase will include looking for sales opportunities and choosing the appropriate tools to implement the marketing plan. As already mentioned in the recommendations outlined above, Cooper’s will have to use many methods to advertise and keep its market share. These will include the internet, newspaper, magazine, TV, billboards etc.
The next most important part is the budget. The budget usually comprises of two main sections, these are expenses and expected revenues. The cost of all the activities to be done will be mapped out. Special attention will be paid to ensure efficient resource allocation and reduce expenses on programs which will not yield much success.
Like any other industry, the Australian beer industry is constantly evolving. Rapid technological developments in recent decades have not spared the industry. A firm’s ability to adjust to these changes is very important in ensuring that it maintains its market share and remains profitable. In recent times, quality customer service and good public relations have become very important components of a company’s business model. Cooper’s Brewery is a company that has taken note of all these developments and adjusted accordingly. It has combined technology and innovation with some of its ancient quality beer making processes. Furthermore, Cooper Brewery continues to offer good customer service and maintain good public relations by sponsoring charities and using environmentally friendly practices in its factories.
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