Customer service is one of the most important and significant elements of marketing management. Good customer service helps companies to increase sales and attract new buyers while poor customer service leads to a negative image and bad publicity for the company. The main characteristic of customer service is effective communication and interaction with a customer. Long-term customer service can be built on strong relationships and anticipating their requirements. An important new challenge is emerging with regard to value. Companies should build value using customer support services and quality control. Customer loyalty is a core of good customer service (Ingram et al. 2003).
For many customers, information and consultation are more important than the friendliness and openness of the sales representative. Good customer service is based on professional expertise and on lime delivery. For many buyers, demands on time because of long workdays and work weeks, choices offered to all buyers, in general, have increased the value of speed. Being ahead of the curve on marketing choice issues also means an in-depth and continuing understanding of buyer needs, problems, prospects, and complaints. Performance, evaluation, recognition, and reward of the salesperson are linked to creating value and to retention aims. Good customer service involves coordination and management of all activities and practices inside the company and strong relations with suppliers. The entire staff–not individual members–must be fully responsible for customer service, if not the customer receives less benefit and there is structural confusion (Doyle and Stern 2006).
Poor customer service means inadequate and even negative relations with buyers and inability to understand and meet their needs and demands. Negative “attitude” and “empty promises are vivid examples of poor customer service. Poor customer service is a result of inadequate planning and organizing. The end result is an organization that is less flexible. The shift from poor service to service has emphasized the need to have skilled sales managers who can rapidly and professionally deal with an array of customer needs (Ingram et al. 2003). Buyers are no longer satisfied to move from point to point because of organizational administration, policies, or procedures. Buyers now demand that companies meet their particular wants and needs on-demand on the spot. The company should now become customer-driven/commitment-based. Poor customer service involves poor communication and lack of attention to the needs and requirements of customers, neglect, and ignorance of their needs and expectations. Poor customer service leads to decreased sales, a negative image of the company, and a reduced number of repeat buyers. The customers can switch to competitors even if their products and services are more expensive (Fill 1999).
In sum, effective customer service should be seen as a strategy, but it is also one of those areas of presentation that impact other elements of the planning and development. Customer services, like strategic choice issues, require constant attention from management. It means real closeness to customers. Good customer service should be a philosophy of the company and a part of its mission and vision. Senior management sets the example while staff follows directions and approaches. Through the sharing of expertise and professional consultation services, sales managers no longer need to be involved with task control and the resolution of short-term issues. They must further evolve to improve customer loyalty and value. Where management process structures focus on meeting customer needs, customer-commitment-based structures focus on exceeding and anticipating them.
Doyle, P., Stern, Ph. 2006, Marketing Management and Strategy. Financial Times/Prentice Hall; 4 edition.
Fill, C. 1999. Marketing Communication: Contexts, Contents, and Strategies 2 edn. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Ingram, et al. 2003. Marketing: Principles and Perspectives/ McGraw-Hill/Irwin; 4 edition.