Customer service refers to actions taken by a seller in order to provide support and satisfaction to a customer. This includes actions taken before, during, and after the actual transaction. The scope of customer service depends on the company and the kinds of products and services.
Customer service and satisfaction can be effective marketing and advertising tools. While traditional advertisements may help a company gain the positive publicity it needs, customer dissatisfaction can cancel out advertising efforts by generating negative feedback which is easily spread by word-of-mouth.
In the internet age, this may be a bigger challenge for companies to face, because the transmission of information is happening more quickly than ever. Both positive and negative reviews in blogs may influence the opinions of customers, especially since many consumers check the Internet for reviews before making a purchase or planning a trip.
Consumer rights protection regulations also influence the procedures a company follows as it provides customer service. For instance, refunds or product exchanges may be issued for faulty products. However, there are also conditions to be considered, such as the length of time from which the product was purchased, user negligence, mishandling, and the like. For many stores, a specific counter is set up to address such issues.
However, a company does not always need to assign people to handle all customer service activities. While people are still needed for monitoring, certain steps can already be automated. This is especially true for online purchasing. Most steps can be completed by the buyer, but there is often an option to call a hotline or chat with a customer relations representative if the customer is experiencing problems which cannot be addressed by the information on the website.