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Repositioning the customer support services: the next frontier of competitive advantage

Repositioning the customer support services: the next frontier of competitive advantage This paper aims to analyze the present status of customer support services (CSS) and advocate the re-positioning of support services from an administrative cost center to a strategic profit center. Authors demonstrate how customer support or after sales services can be a source of competitive advantage and revenue generation for firms.Design/methodology/approachThe study adopts a conceptual approach grounded in theoretical foundations of service dominant logic, customer loyalty and customer centricity along with practical illustrations from the industry.FindingsFollowing the tenets of theory, review of existing research and analysis of the industry practices, the authors propose a new framework to enable the repositioning of customer service function. The key propositions include establishing customer support as separate business unit and insights center, introducing a new role of a C-level chief customer support officer to lead the customer support unit, adopting a customer-centric culture and process, enabling frontline IT support and investing in frontline employee skills development.Research limitations/implicationsAcademics should examine the potential of customer support, where the strategic importance is low at present, leading to customer dissatisfaction. The new approach and positioning of customer support calls for a new direction for research in this area focusing on enablers, challenges and further implications. To succeed in this competitive era, firms should be conscious of the value of customer service and undertake concrete actions to generate value for all stakeholders.Practical implicationsIndustry can use the new framework and re-position CSS of the organizations. The CSS unit can be different from other business units in the organizations. The CSS would evolve and emerge from the live customer insights. CSS unit can be managed by the C level chief CSS officer. Customer-centric culture would be developed and front line processes can be made customer-oriented by the officer. Thus, this paper and framework would provide new customer-centric directions to the organizations for effective functioning.Originality/valueThis is the original piece that has emerged from the experience and expertise of the authors. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Journal of Marketing Emerald Publishing

Repositioning the customer support services: the next frontier of competitive advantage

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References (82)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0309-0566
DOI
10.1108/ejm-02-2020-0086
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper aims to analyze the present status of customer support services (CSS) and advocate the re-positioning of support services from an administrative cost center to a strategic profit center. Authors demonstrate how customer support or after sales services can be a source of competitive advantage and revenue generation for firms.Design/methodology/approachThe study adopts a conceptual approach grounded in theoretical foundations of service dominant logic, customer loyalty and customer centricity along with practical illustrations from the industry.FindingsFollowing the tenets of theory, review of existing research and analysis of the industry practices, the authors propose a new framework to enable the repositioning of customer service function. The key propositions include establishing customer support as separate business unit and insights center, introducing a new role of a C-level chief customer support officer to lead the customer support unit, adopting a customer-centric culture and process, enabling frontline IT support and investing in frontline employee skills development.Research limitations/implicationsAcademics should examine the potential of customer support, where the strategic importance is low at present, leading to customer dissatisfaction. The new approach and positioning of customer support calls for a new direction for research in this area focusing on enablers, challenges and further implications. To succeed in this competitive era, firms should be conscious of the value of customer service and undertake concrete actions to generate value for all stakeholders.Practical implicationsIndustry can use the new framework and re-position CSS of the organizations. The CSS unit can be different from other business units in the organizations. The CSS would evolve and emerge from the live customer insights. CSS unit can be managed by the C level chief CSS officer. Customer-centric culture would be developed and front line processes can be made customer-oriented by the officer. Thus, this paper and framework would provide new customer-centric directions to the organizations for effective functioning.Originality/valueThis is the original piece that has emerged from the experience and expertise of the authors.

Journal

European Journal of MarketingEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 26, 2020

Keywords: Customer loyalty; Competitive advantage; After sales service; Customer centric; Customer support; Customer support service; Re-positioning; Service dominance logic; Aftersales; Customer centricity; Service dominant logic; Loyalty

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