Customer Service Meaning
Many companies differentiate their product offerings by providing support services with their product. Usually referred to as customer services, these services include any human or mechanical efforts/activities a company provides that add value to a product.
For example, customer services include delivery and installation, financing arrangements, customer training, warranties and guarantees, repairs, layaway plans, convenient hours of operation, adequate parking, and information through toll-free numbers and websites. e.g., Zappos, an online shoe retailer, has earned a reputation for excellent customer service, in part due to its 24-hour service and free, fast returns.
Whether as a major or minor part of the total product offering, all marketers of goods sell customer services. Providing good customer service may be the only way a company can differentiate its products when all products in a market have essentially the same quality, design, and features. This is particularly true in the computer industry.
When buying a laptop computer, e.g., consumers shop more for fast delivery, technical support, warranties, and price than for product quality and design. Through research, a company can discover what kind of services its customers require.
For example, some customers are more interested in financing, whereas others are more concerned with training and installation. The level of customer service a company provides can affect customer satisfaction profoundly. The American Customer Satisfaction Index, compiled by the National Quality Research Centre at the University of Michigan, ranks customer satisfaction among a wide variety of businesses. Dissatisfied customers may curtail their overall spending, which could stifle economic growth.
Customer service can be seen in one of several ways. Sometimes customer service is seen as an activity (something that the organisation provides). A customer service department that handles complaints, special orders, billing, etc., often evidences this aspect of customer service. Similarly, customer service can be viewed as a measure of performance.
Customer Service Definition
According to Turban, “Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction, i.e., the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation”.
According to the International Customer Service Association (ICSA), “Customer service is those functions within a business that has customer satisfaction as their responsibility and provide that satisfaction through the fulfilment of sales order demand and/or information needs”.
Customer service starts with the first interaction with a customer or prospect and continues through the sales process, review and evaluation process. When problems arise, quality customer service helps retain clients.
Objectives of Customer Service
The following are the objectives of customer service:
1) To Increase Sales: Customer service, whether production-oriented or market-oriented, the final product is to provide a service to meet the needs of customers.
2) To Improve Customer Satisfaction: Good customer service will increase the value of products, and improve customer satisfaction. Therefore, many companies provide customer service as an important feature.
3) To Reduce Distribution Costs: The important role of customer service is the choice of service and reduction of distribution costs. The low-cost strategy has always been competitive in the main and often involves the realisation of low-cost commodity production and circulation of the whole process.
To Create Value in Supply Chain: Customer services as a unique way to merchandise for the media, the suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of organic components from production to consumption, a whole process flow system, and promote the smooth flow of goods; on the other hand, and logistics services through its own unique system facilities (POS, EOS, VAN, etc.) continue to merchandise sales, inventory and other important information back to the distribution channels in all enterprises.
5) To Retain Customers: How to better meet customer needs, is key to business success. The strategy to retain customers is more critical. Because customers and the company has a very high-profit margin between the correlation retaining old customers to retain business, while amortisation of the customer sales and advertising costs are low, particularly satisfied customers will provide business intermediaries.
Need for Customer Service
The need for providing customer service can be described in form of the following aspects:
1) Changing Customer Expectations: With changing customer expectations, competitors are seeing customer service as an important competitive weapon using which to distinguish their product(s) from competitors’ offerings, thereby successfully differentiating their sales efforts. In almost every market, the customer is; now more demanding, knowledgeable and sophisticated than he/she was, say thirty years ago.
Customers have more choices and expectations than ever before. This means that marketers have to listen more closely to customers than ever before. They also have to anticipate needs, solve problems before they start, provide service that impresses customers, and offer responses to mistakes that more than make up for the original error.
2) Increasing Competition Base: Competition is increasing, and the products offered are becoming larger and more varied, so it is necessary to provide added value. Competitors increasingly are being matched in quality and price, so it is necessary to find a distinction.
Competitors have not only been meeting these rising customer expectations but shaping them with yet higher standards of performance and value. And so the cycle repeats itself, with customers asking for more and getting it. So there is no reason why customers should buy one organisation’s offerings unless it is in some way better at serving the customers’ needs than those offered by competing institutions.
3) Need for a Relationship Strategy: To ensure a customer service strategy that is formulated, and implemented. and controlled, and that will create attractive value for customers, it is necessary to establish this strategy as having a central role and not one that is only a sub-component of the elements of the marketing mix.
If a customer is dissatisfied with the service or care, is likely to speak ill of one and tell of their bad experience to other consumers. If a customer receives good service he is very likely to return to buy our products or visit us again. He is also likely to recommend us to other consumers.