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Customer Service Tactics and Strategies

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Customer Service Tactics and Strategies

Keith Rosenow

University of Phoenix

COMM 470

Brian Danzinger

February 22, 2006

Customer Service Tactics and Strategies

Just who are our customers and what is customer service? This paper will attempt to answer these questions with regard to how companies use online and virtual communication to improve customer service.

In today's business world, customers are all around us. They are no longer the end consumer of a company's goods or services. Customers are present from the moment the products arrive at the company either as raw materials or in finished form, and that is why communication factors in so heavily in the customer service aspect of a business. Because the word customer can be applied to so many different areas in a company, I am going to focus on one area in particular, and that is the end consumer.

Customer service in the past was largely handled with face-to-face communication between the business and the customer. Occasionally customer service was handled by mail or via the telephone. These methods require energy on the part of both the business and the customer, and have to be scheduled around the hours a business is open. With the advent of the Internet, customer service has leapt to the forefront of business operations. The Internet was developed in 1969 for the U.S. military and gradually grew to include educational and research institutions. In the last two decades, connections to and use of the Internet have mushroomed, primarily due to the popularity of the Web - the graphical form of the Internet that most people use - and email (University of, 2006). Use of the Internet for customer service is now only limited by a person's ability to use and access a computer. Consumers use the web in a variety of ways, but its number one purpose is to get information; they do research and get answers to their questions. With Internet communication becoming more and more popular, customer service must also become just as popular.

Years ago if you wanted to know how much money you had in a particular account, it required driving to the financial institution, and talking with a representative to obtain the information. In today's world of virtual communication, an individual cannot only access financial accounts to obtain balance information, but they can transfer money between accounts. The incredible service aspect of this is that it can be done from the convenience of a person's home and at any time day or night. Financial institutions have also started to experiment with speech-technology as a way to improve virtual customer service. According to Datamonitor, many banks are expanding the use of speech technology from triage to include services such as account access, fund transfers, bill paying and more. That's possible because today's virtual agents not only can translate human utterances into transactions, but also can "mine" accounts for information specific to each caller. Because they are convenient and allow customers to interact directly with the system at their own pace, virtual agents increase customer satisfaction and enhance long-term customer loyalty. Plus, speech technology addresses the 15 percent of the population still using rotary telephones (Barbara, 2005).

Though shopping online has been getting ever easier, it can be impossible to find answers to your questions. One software company thinks it has a solution. Meet Jill and Emily, "advisors" you can virtually rely on. No, they can't talk (at least not yet). But if you're shopping for a notebook computer on CompUSA.com's Website or seeking floral advice at Proflowers.com, they can offer instant text answers to many questions (Watson, 2000). Jill and Emily are software created by Kana Communications, which uses focus groups, psychographics, demographics,

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