Customer service may be defined as the process of providing some kind of service to existing or potential customers. Service can be provided before, during or after the purchase. It can be in the form of assistance, advice, answer or any other form of help.
The main goal that customer service would want to fulfill is producing a satisfied customer. From this angle, it can play an important role in company’s marketing campaign. Just like disrespecting customers can lead to losing sales, great customer service can create trust and lead to preserving the existing customers and obtaining new ones.
Customer service adds value to the product and the company. It represents professional approach to business and caring for customers. Therefore, it has great psychological value. With quality customer service higher prices are acceptable, since people are willing to pay for the overall quality. And even if they don’t have a particular problem or question, knowing that there is someone they can address to if needed serves as a guarantee.
Customer service can be understood in two ways:
Direct (customer support) – the company has employees whose job is to receive feedback from customers, answer their questions and, if possible, solve their problems regarding the product they’ve purchased or want to purchase.
Indirect – the company has customer-oriented policy which may include market researches, innovative products, competitive prices and other activities.
In the era of the Internet, customer service has expanded. It includes websites, online support, customer feedback and many other forms of information available online. With this expansion, the expectations keep getting higher; for example, it’s no longer enough to have a website with necessary information, it has to have a great design and relevant features. Email contact becomes to slow; people often expect customer support to be available any moment.
For the last couple of years, even social media has become a part of customer service. Companies (especially big ones) are expected to have profiles on multiple social networks and always keep them updated, in order to make the process of getting the needed information absurdly easy for their customers. Fortunately or not, the customer service has and always will have the job to adjust themselves to the needs of their target group, and not vice versa.
Online customer service and customer support may apply to all kinds of businesses. In the technology field, the term for customer support is technical support.