The appearance of new Information Technology (IT) has created an environment of abundant consumer choice, in this environment organizations seek to improve the customer service to increase customer loyalty. Thus, it is necessary for organizations to understand their customers’ current behaviour, preferences, and future needs. Many organizations believe that in this environment one of the fundamental means for creating competitive advantage is to deploy information technology that supports and fosters one-to-one relationships with customers (Shoemaker, M. E. , 2001).
Internet and electronic commerce technologies help companies to build a strong asset in customer orientation, which brings benefits for customers in the form of improved service, convenience and choice (Timmers, P. 2000). Today, the importance of customer service has been recognised by more companies. How to utilise the new IT to improve the quality of service has become a new popular topic in academic field. The objective of this assignment is to argue the customer service in information technology environment. It is divided into four aspects. Firstly, to introduce the importance of service.
Secondly, to argue new technology involved into customer service. Thirdly, to display the implication of the service change for customer. Fourthly, to discuss suppliers should consider some factors when developing their service strategy. The Importance of Service In general, ‘service’ means ‘the act of doing things for other people’. Customer service can be defined as ‘all those activities provided by the seller which have value for the buyer thus increasing customer satisfaction and encouraging patronage and loyalty between the parties'(Baker, M. J. 1995).
Customer service is part of a management process to develop greater customer orientation. Most companies today recognised the importance of good customer service. Recent evidence shows that improving the quality of customer service is a key to achieving a competitive advantage; a good “product” is necessary, but not sufficient to compete in today’s marketplace (Barnes, J. G. 1993). As a direct result, organizations are actively cultivating customer service as a valuable asset in strategically differentiating their products and services (Christopher, M.
1992). One way of thinking about customer service is to visualize it as being two components – services additional to the basic product and quality levels with which products and services are supplies- each of which need planning at three basic stages: pre-sale, during the sale and after the sale (Wilson, I. 1994). Service transferring to technology supported environment For people living in the nineteenth century, the key transforming technologies of the industrial revolution included water power, railroads, and electricity.
During the twentieth century, key transforming technologies included the telephone and internet radio, television. New and evolving technologies continue to transform our lives (Lovelock, C. , 2001, pp535). In this assignment, the technology means those information technologies which continue to generate innovations in customer service, most notably through the medium of the internet. Information Technology is transforming the marketing environment, and thus emphasizing the critical need for good and effective customer service (Fletcher, 1990).
Therefore, it is a strategic resource that facilitates major changes in competitive behaviour, marketing and customer service. In essence, IT enables a firm to achieve competitive advantages. It is a resource that links the “marketing orientation” and “technology exploitation” of an organization, which clearly has to be harnessed and managed correctly (Barnes, J. G. , 1993). IT has had its greatest impact on the processes of the firm, allowing new levels of service to be achieved consistently or cost-effectively.
It is frequently used to replace humans to ensure consistency of service. In this situation the fewer contacts a firm has with its customers the more important will be the quality of the relationship in each transaction. That is why in the more successful service industries a balance is found between ‘high tech’ and ‘high touch’ in strategic priorities, and room is left for a personal element in their system and methods (Fletcher, K. , 1995, pp55). Table 1 show the different technologies involved in the customer service, such as the telephone, internet.