Marketers have seen the customer service process evolve from an area that received only marginal attention into a primary functional area. In response to customers’ demands for responsive and reliable service, organizations are investing heavily in innovative methods and processes to strengthen their service level.
Increase Customer Self-Service
One major trend in customer service is the move by organizations to encourage customers to be involved in helping solve their own service issues. This can be seen in retail industries where self-service ranges from customers placing their own grocery products in shopping bags all the way to having customers do their own checkout, including scanning products and making payment. Also, as we will soon discuss, customers needing information are being encouraged by companies to first undertake the effort themselves often by visiting special company-provided information areas (see Knowledge Base below). Only after they have explored these options are customers advised to contact customer service.
Organizations maintaining a customer service staff have found that these employees not only can help solve customer problems but they may also be in a position to convince customers to purchase more. Many companies are now requiring sales training for their customer service personnel. At a basic level customer service representatives may be trained to ask if customers are interested in hearing about other products or services. If a customer shows interest then the representative will transfer the customer to a sales associate. At a more advanced level the representative will shift to a selling role and attempt to get the customer to commit to additional product purchases.