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Customer service

Philip Kotler defines customer service as 'all the activities involved in making it easy for customers to reach the right parties within the company and receive quick and satisfactory service, answers and resolutions of problems'.

Customers have expectations, and when these ar met, there is customer satisfaction. When they exceeded, there may be delight, but this depends n the degree of involvement in the purchase. There is scale between the chore of the weekly shop at the supermarket and the purchase of something expensive such as r that, for many people, only takes place once every few years. The scope for delight and, conversely, dissatisfaction is greater in the latter situation.

The telephone n be used to sell some services, such as banking r insurance, entirely replacing face-to-face contact. The customer helpline n be channel of communication to complement face-to-face contact. r it n be used before r after buying goods as source of information r channel of complaint.

The figures familiar: 95 r cent of dissatisfied customers don't complain, but just change suppliers. As the article in the main course unit relates, customers receiving good service create new business by telling up to 12 other people. Those treated badly will tell up to 20 people. Eighty r cent of those who feel their complaints r handled fairly will stay loyal, and customer allegiance will be built. Customer retention is key: studies show that getting repeat business is five times cheaper than finding new customers. Customer defection must, of course, be reduced as much as possible, but company n learn lot from the ones who do lv through lost customer analysis: getting customers to give the reasons why they have defected, and changing the way it does things.

Service providers, such as mobile phone r bl V companies, have to deal with churn, the number of customers who go to another provider r stop using the service altogether each year.

In many services, satisfaction is hard to achieve because the customer interaction is difficult to control, which is why service organizations like airlines, banks and legal firms create high levels of dissatisfaction. If product r service breaks down, fixing the problem may build customer loyalty, but it will also eat into the profit margin. Customers must be satisfied r delighted, but at profit. If salespeople r call-centre staff r hotel receptionists over-zealous, there may be lots of satisfied customers, but the business may be operating at loss.

Kotler says that it is not companies that compete, but marketing networks comprising number of companies. For example, is assembled from components made by several manufacturers, sold through call centre which may be subcontractor, delivered by transport company and perhaps serviced by yet another organisation as part of the manufacturer's product support. It is the customer's total experience that counts. Making the computer is just n part of this. The logistics of selling and organizing the services needed by each customer becomes key.


Read on

Philip Kotler: Marketing Maageet, Prentice Hall, 1999 edition, ch. 2: 'Building Customer Satisfaction, Value, and Retention'

Adrian Palmer: Priciples of Services Marketing, Grw-ill, 1998

Ron Zemke, John . Woods: Best Practices i Custoer Service, , 1999


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 2644

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