Customer service elements are commonly associated with the customer service. The degree of importance attached to any element may vary from company to company depending on customer needs. These elements can be categorised in three components pre-transaction, transaction element and post transaction elements.
Pre Transaction Element
According to ( stock & lambert) pre-transaction element of customer service tend to be related to the organization’s policies regarding customer service and can have significant impact on customers’ perceptions of the organisation and their overall satisfaction. The pre-transaction component establishes an enabling environment conductive superior customer service.
This element require management level decision making and involvement. The pre-transaction element pertaining to logistic customer service include a specific customer services strategy, translated into a written customer service policy, defining transaction and post transaction services standard related performance measurement.
This policy should be communicated to customer, facilitating communication, expectation management and subsequent perception of service delivery. A chosen organisation structure must enable internal communication and cooperation to ensure the execution of the policy. There should also be a continuous focus on ensuring system agility to respond to unplanned natural disasters or demand outlies.
Pre-transaction element is important because it includes a written statement policy, this policy statement would define service standards which should be tied to customers’ needs. It should include metrics for tracking service performance and the frequency of reporting actual performance and will be measurable and actionable.
Customers are also provided with written statement policy that lets the customer know what to expect and help to safeguard against unreasonable expectations. It should provide the customer with information about how to respond if expected levels are not achieved by the firm.
Organisational structure. The organisation structure best suited to ensure the achievement of customer service goals varies across organizations but senior logistics executive should be positioned at a high level and have high visibility within the firm. The structure should facilitate both internal and external communication of policies, performance and corrective actions as needed. Customers should have easy access to individuals within the organisation who can satisfy their need and answer to all their questions’
System flexibility. Flexibility and contingency plans should be built into system, which allow organisation to successfully respond to unforeseen such as labour strikes, material shortage, and natural disaster such as flooding.
It consist of the actions that directly result in sales and delivery of the product to the customer. It is important because it include the following
Product availability, this is ensured by managing inventory level and preventing stock-out. This include product transhipment between field locations to avoid stock-out, which can be done by anticipation of demand and should be driven customer service policy.
Order convenience refers to how easy it is for the customer to place an order. Customers prefer suppliers that are user-friendly and if forms are confusing and terms are not standardized, customers may experience dissatisfaction.
The order cycle, refers to all the element from initiation until delivery, communication progress and deviation. This elements which should be monitored include order processing, order picking and packing, delivery and order receiving.
Special handling of shipment, relates to any order that cannot be managed through the normal delivery system. This could happen because it needs to expedite or has unique shipping requirements. The cost of such shipments are considerably higher than shipment, however the cost of a lost customer could be still higher. The company should determine which customer or situation warrant special treatment and which do not.
The development and communication of an appropriate product substitution policy for example ascertaining whether a customer would accept the same item in a different item size that performs at least the same as the ordered item, it is part of the process.
Quality assurance chain ensures order accuracy and the correct physical condition of goods when delivered and appropriate transport and logistics services must be selected in order to satisfy customer.
Post Transaction Element
Post transaction element include the spectrum of services needed to support the product during application or use after it has been sold. To protect customers and users from defective or dysfunctional product, to provide for the return of reusable components, containers and packages, e.g. returnable bottles and pallets, It handles claims, complaints and returns and to fulfil the conditions of the product warranties and product maintenance agreements after a warranty has expired.
Installation, warranty, repairs and service parts. This elements should be an important consideration in almost all purchases especially purchases of full capital equipment where the costs tend to far outweighs the cost of the purchase item itself. Product tracking. Referred to as products tracing and is important customer service element. For example in order to inform customer of potential problems, firms must be able to recall potentially dangerous products from the market once the potential hazard has been identified.
Customer complaints, claims and returns. To resolve customer complaints an accurate online information system is needed to process the data from the customer, monitor trends and provide the customer with the most current information available.
Products replacements. Depending on the item, having backup product temporarily available when the item is being serviced can be critical for example some automobile dealership provide rental cars to their customers at no charge while their cars are being serviced and this minimizes the inconvenience and my create more loyal customers.
Trade-off triangles is a way to interact with problem that have three or more opposing forces. In trade-off triangle making a choice in favour of one direction is detrimental to another.
It illustrate the relationship between three primary forces. Time is the available time to deliver the project, cot represent the amount of money or resources available and quality represent the fit to purpose that must be achieved to succeed.
Trade-off triangular are built with basic rules:
- There are dimensions where each terminus represent an ideal state.e.g. High quality.
- A solution will favour or select two out of the three dimensions, which will determine how the third dimension will behave.
- There can be more than three dimension. Naturally these are harder to whiteboard.