What Is Consumer Relations? - Definition, Examples & Issues

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  • 0:04 Positive Consumer Relations
  • 0:54 Role of Consumer Relations
  • 3:03 Issues
  • 4:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: LeRon Haire
This lesson will define the term consumer relations and include past and present examples. We will also explore current problems facing consumer relations.

Positive Consumer Relations

Successful organizations are prosperous for several reasons: higher revenue, lower expenses, and quality products and services, to name just a few. However, many of these organizations would be quick to tell you that the biggest reason for their success is the consumer. For this reason, it is crucial that consumer relations becomes a major part of any organization's long-term plans.

Consumer relations, also known as customer relations, are the process in which an organization creates and maintains a positive relationship with their consumers. In a nutshell, consumer relations focuses on communicating with current and potential customers to get a better understanding of how the organization can improve in multiple areas. Let's examine the past and present role of consumer relations, while addressing current issues the field faces.

Role of Consumer Relations

Consumer relations is a process that has been around for a long time. Items from blue jeans, Coca-Cola, and crops have long been sought-after purchases. Unlike the more refined process it is today, which we will review later in this lesson, consumer relations of the past was not something that was purposely considered.

For example, although the act of buying and selling in the past entailed building relationships with customers and suppliers, it was not as detailed or complex as it is today. Back then, most of it was done face-to-face. In present times, technology has given businesses and organizations multiple outlets to improve consumer relations.

Also, due to the lack of technology, organizations had limited resources to work with. The only options available, other than pen and paper, would have been the Rolodex, telephone, entry-level database marketing in the 1980s, and the obvious face-to-face meetings.

A rolodex is a device that holds multiple cards on a rotating spindle. Those cards contain business contact information and are often alphabetized for easy accessibility. Although developed in the 1950s, the rolodex is still popular for the few that are reluctant to use newer, flashier options.

In today's business environment, consumer relations has taken on a whole new meaning. Several organizations have created an entire consumer relations department, and the term 'customer relationship management' has evolved from this.

Customer Relationship Management, also known as CRM, is a system designed to further analyze just how organizations can better establish and maintain positive relationships with customers. CRM organizes information to help develop these relationships. Here are examples of some of the information a CRM system may hold:

  • Social media data
  • Company website information
  • Marketing information
  • Customer preferences
  • Previous customer purchases
  • Current trends

Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter also make it easier for organizations to establish these relationships, and within a matter of seconds.


Despite the upside of consumer relations, there are several issues that have plagued the process as well. Organizations must deal with the negative side of social media. Many consumers do not feel the need to establish a connection with a business, because social media and the internet provide instant, accessible information that can answer most of their questions.

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