Customer Service Performance
Competition and increasing customer expectations in today’s global business are changes that could determine a company’s survival or extinction. How these changes are handled and accommodated will influence the future of a company. Customer service provides the necessary link between a company’s management and the customers. An effective and flexible customer service needs to be responsive to these changes. The products of a company and services have to be moved from the company to the consumer right on time and at the lowest cost, by the distribution channels which include wholesalers, sales agents and retailers.
Better distribution channels selected and practiced by a company will lead to competitive advantage, while poor channels may lead to market failure of their products (Sahay, 2003). Most of the companies today are involved in direct sales for their products through the internet where they interact directly with their customers. This process is efficient, fast and less involving thus greatly cutting on costs. Flexibility in the distribution operations is necessary in a company.
Companies are constantly and regularly reorganizing their sales and distribution operations. The changing demands in the market require flexibility in distribution operations. Certain key factors impact on distribution operations and how they are incorporated will have greater effects on the customer service performance. Some of these factors include centralization versus regionalization, the price, the pace, variety, people, information system, energy, global marketplace and government involvement amongst others.
In business the number and location of distribution points, cost of transport and targets of the customer service, should have a good relationship in the distribution network. The more the distribution networks are centralized, so is the customer service which in turn will become efficient. Distribution of the products should be at low cost, efficient and effective. Accountability in the distribution channels leads to success. Effective leadership, efficient systems and equipment and proper communication will provide a working environment that is fulfilling and hence give results.
The variety in the ways of packaging, kitting, labeling and unitizing of the products should be tailored towards enhancing the performance of customer service. Accurate and timely information on products is a must in the e-enabled world today. The information ought to be real-time, standardized and paperless. This means that it is possible for customers to track their orders through all the stages, the orders are to their specifications and are free of errors.
An organizational culture that is participatory and team-based will result to success. This could be achieved through employee motivation and acknowledgements by free day’s celebrations, openness and involvement, promotions and salary increments. These processes will tie the distribution processes to customers who are satisfied. Proper identification and incorporation of these key factors will improve on the performance of the customer service (Bowersox, 1990).
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