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  • Customer service

    Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase. The perception of success of such interactions is dependent on employees "who can adjust themselves to the personality of the guest". Customer service concerns the priority an organization assigns to customer service relative to components such as product innovation and pricing. In this sense, an organization that values good customer service may spend more money in training employees than the average organization or may proactively interview customers for feedback.

    From the point of view of an overall sales process engineering effort, customer service plays an important role in an organization's ability to generate income and revenue. From that perspective, customer service should be included as part of an overall approach to systematic improvement. One good customer service experience can change the entire perception a customer holds towards the organization.

    A customer support is a range of customer services to assist customers in making cost effective and correct use of a product. It includes assistance in planning, installation, training, trouble shooting, maintenance, upgrading, and disposal of a product. These services even may be done at customer's side where he/she uses the product or service. In this case it is called "at home customer services" or "at home customer support."

    Customer service may be provided by a person (e.g., sales and service representative), or by automated means, such as kiosks, Internet sites, and apps. An advantage with automated means is an increased ability to provide service 24-hours a day, which can, at least, be a complement to customer service by persons.

    An increasingly popular type of automated customer service is conducted through artificial intelligence ("AI"). The customer benefit of AI is the feel for chatting with a live agent through improved speech technologies while giving customers the self-service benefit. Another example of automated customer service is by touch-tone phone, which usually involves IVR (Interactive Voice Response) a main menu and the use of the keypad as options (e.g., "Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Spanish", etc.)

    However, in the Internet era, a challenge has been to maintain and/or enhance the personal experience while making use of the efficiencies of online commerce. "Online customers are literally invisible to you (and you to them), so it's easy to shortchange them emotionally. But this lack of visual and tactile presence makes it even more crucial to create a sense of personal, human-to-human connection in the online arena.

    Many organizations have implemented feedback loops that allow them to capture feedback at the point of experience. For example, National Express in the UK has invited passengers to send text messages while riding the bus. This has been shown to be useful, as it allows companies to improve their customer service before the customer defects, thus making it far more likely that the customer will return next time. Technology has made it increasingly easier for companies to obtain feedback from their customers. Community blogs and forums give customers the ability to give detailed explanations of both negative as well as positive experiences with a company/organization.

    Some have argued that the quality and level of customer service has decreased in recent years, and that this can be attributed to a lack of support or understanding at the executive and middle management levels of a corporation and/or a customer service policy. To address this argument, many organizations have employed a variety of methods to improve their customer satisfaction levels, and other key performance indicators (KPIs).