Retail Management


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Pages : 487; Paperback;
210 X 275 mm approx.


Textbook Price: Rs. 900;
Available only in INDIA

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<< Chapter 14

Customer Service : Chapter 15

SUMMARY: Providing superior service has always been a complex and challenging job for retailers. This is because of the intangible and inconsistent nature of services. Retailers generally use customization and standardization to deliver customer services. While customization motivates the service providers to customize services according to the needs of individual customers, standardization ensures that they follow established guidelines when delivering service.

The various services provided by retailers to customers can be grouped under three categories; pre transaction, transaction and post transaction services. Convenient store hours and information availability are the most common pre-transaction services offered to customers. Pre transaction services help target customers gather information about a store's merchandise and methods for purchasing it easily. Transaction services are delivered

to customers while they are shopping at a store. Post transaction services are provided by retailers after the merchandise or the services have been purchased.

Customers evaluate the quality of a service by comparing the actual service delivered at the store with the service expected. The gap between the perceived quality of service and the expected quality of service has led to the identification of four types of gaps in service quality being delivered: Knowledge gap, Standards gap, Delivery gap and the Communication gap. These four gaps together form the Service gap. In order to improve the quality of service, retailers have to minimize, if not close the service gap between the delivered and the expected service. Retailers can close the gap by finding out customer expectations, establishing standards for delivering the expected service to customers, providing instrumental and emotional support to service providers, and communicating the merchandise and the service offerings to customers in a realistic manner.

The failure to provide services according to the set standards leaves the retailer with little opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with his customers. Though recovering a service failure is very difficult, retailers can re-establish and strengthen their bonds with customers by following a three step procedure; listening to customers, providing a fair solution, and resolving the problem quickly.

Customer service has become the major determinant of retailing success. Retailers can earn maximum profits only by developing integrated customer service programs.

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