Customer Service

Customer loyalty pays off enormously in a variety of ways to firms that invest resources in measures designed to build customer relationships. Customer loyalty has become a means of profitability, brand distinction, and enhancing product/service value in an era of increased competition, increasingly sophisticated and demanding consumers, and a sluggish economy. For many companies today, customer service is the only means of achieving competitive advantage because of competitor similarities in promotion, product, and pricing. In today's technologically driven business environment, data mining, obtaining customer information, and a host of other measures being utilized are designed to help companies better serve individual customers. As one customer relations specialist notes of the current trend among businesses, "All companies, regardless of what they sell, are seeing themselves as service providers. As obtaining information and distribution of products become easier, the differentiation businesses can make is how well they can serve their customers. What is known about the customer can be turned into a competitive advantage" (Turn 3).

In designing an effective customer service implementation strategy, organizations need to understand their customers, their employees, their goals, and their culture. All four of these elements are critical to successful implementation policies of organizations that deliver top-n



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