Customer service is the art of listening and attending to clients’ needs in a professional manner. In the contemporary world where businesses face many challenges due to competition and innovation dynamics, successful organizations consider customer service in their growth strategies. The goal is to ensure that the clients get satisfied and come back to the business at a future date. The companies understand that real growth cannot be achieved in a market environment that does not promote good customer relations. Good customer relationship is created when a business sells products to clients and shows interest in finding out whether the goods meet the consumers’ needs and tries to improve the situation. Customer service is delivered through various methods, which are designed in such a way that they satisfy consumer needs in line with business’s code of conduct (Suchánek, Richter, & Králová, 2014).
Business experts are of the view that organizations cannot realize a significant success without offering quality customer services. The objective of this research is to validate this hypothesis by evaluating the methods and quality of customer service at Apple Inc. and General Motors Company, and its contribution to organizational growth in a competitive environment. The two corporations operate in different sectors and are lucky regarding profit making and achievements of enormous growth in the global market. High-quality customer service guarantees competitive advantage in the market. Thus, it is imperative for enterprises to factor in customer needs in product development.
Numerous scholars have compiled literature regarding effective customer service and its significance to organizational growth and survival. The majority of business analysts believe that customer service is both an art and science. They refer to customer service as art because it has to be delivered in a creative and humane manner to meet the specified objectives. The primary goal is to fulfill customers’ demands, thus encouraging them not only to purchase products but also return to a business and refer their colleagues. Madden, Roth, and Dillon (2012) claim that customer service is a science because it deals with human beings who are led by emotions, therefore have to be handled in a professional way for the effort to bear the desirable results.
Businesses cannot exist without customers and neither can they succeed without fulfilling consumer demands, tastes and preferences. For a business to succeed, it has to focus on the value and quality of the products and services. Madden et al. (2012) allege that it is hard for a business to achieve a market share that can translate into long-term profitability without considering the quality of its products or services. Today, all successful multinational corporations started as small entities that served a limited number of customers. The enterprises grew their market share through meeting customer demands and establishing new markets (Madden et al., 2012). Had the companies failed to offer quality customers services, they could not have enhanced their market share, leave along retaining their original clients.
World economics relies heavily on growth and developments of businesses in various economic sectors. Enterprises use different methods to stir business growth. Some companies endeavors to ensure that their names appear in the Fortune 500 companies to instill a sense of quality services in consumers. The studies show that businesses that are listed in the Fortune 500 offer quality customer services to customers (Swoboda & Hirschmann, 2016).
The majority of the technological firms appear on the Fortune 500 enterprises every year. Swoboda and Hirschmann (2016) allege that the companies appear because they value consumer service delivery. The technological industry is profitable, but very few businesses thrive in this sector. The success of entities in the technology industry is attributed to their appreciation that tech products are prone to breakdowns and are phased out of the market quickly. Thus, the companies conduct market analysis to identify and project future consumer demands. It enables them to manufacture gadgets that do not only meet existing requirements but also have the capacity to satisfy future needs.
The core business value for successful tech companies lies on the quality of design and product itself. The companies commit to delivering quality products to their customers. Their ability to attract and retain customers depends on the ingenuity of the product design and quality. Tech companies have teams of products designers that make sure they develop user-friendly gadgets that are not only elegant but also meet the functional needs of different clients. The companies are keen in the selection of suppliers to ensure that their devices are made of quality components. Customers would not prefer to purchase electronic gadgets that spoil or get outdated quickly.
Cuneo, Milberg, Benavente, and Fenech (2015) allege that technology companies use three Fs (feel, felt, and found) to promote customer services. Cuneo et al. (2015) posit that the companies “feel what the client is saying, share a time when they felt that way, and tell the clients the solution based on what the support representative found” (p. 78). The companies understand what to say or not to disclose to customers. For instance, they avoid using words like “problem”, which might aggravate the client. The companies have alerts that enable them to monitor what customers say about their brands. It allows them to make the necessary changes in the production of successive products to meet consumer needs.
The motor vehicle industry is another sector that thrives on efficient customer services. Companies like Toyota and Ford do well because they pay attention to the needs of their target clients. Establishing an appealing environment is paramount to customer service in the automobile industry. Some companies use little gestures like offering snacks to clients and maintaining clean reception areas with free internet. It helps to show customers that the company is conscious of their experiences. Cuneo et al. (2015) allege that motor vehicle companies ought to develop ways of enhancing the customer experience as it promotes customer loyalty. Gathering customer intelligence goes a long way towards enabling a company to manufacture cars that suit the market demand. Some companies conduct customer satisfaction survey to identify areas that require changing.
Swoboda and Hirschmann (2016) maintain, “The high cost associated with vehicle ownership make every decision more significant for the customer” (p. 21). Research indicates that the clients tend to trust in the advice that they get from car manufacturers. Thus, for companies to establish a lasting relationship with its customers, they should avoid giving negative information to enrich themselves at the expense of clients. A majority of the customers do not worry about paying more for a quality car. However, they change their perception if they pay highly for a car only for it not to meet their expectations. Automobile companies require conducting consumer analysis to ensure that they make cars that respond to their expectations.
The research was done through two methods, which were a systematic review of previous studies and ethnography/participant observation. The researcher then compared the findings of the previous studies with the observed data to eliminate biases. The researcher used content analysis technique to analyze the data. Qualitative data was obtained from eight scholarly journals. For the journals to be eligible, they had to bear literature about customer service.
Inclusion criteria were used to identify eligible studies based on four requirements. First, the study’s literature review had to touch on customer service and its impacts on business. Second, the study must have been done through a controlled experimental method where participants were real clients of a particular business. Third, the study results must have been reviewed by independent reviewers to eliminate biases. Finally, results must have been analyzed using statistical methods to validate the study.
The research involved customers as active participants. The researcher assumed the role of an observer as a participant. It enabled the investigator to gain firsthand experience of the level of customer service offered by the companies. The role enabled the researcher to gather comprehensive information about the group’s activities. Eighty customers participated in the experiment where forty-two were from Apple and thirty-eight from General Motors. The experiment was done at the companies’ outlets as that is where clients come into direct contact with the sales personnel. It would be difficult to measure the degree of customer service that an institution offers without coming into contact with its sales representatives. The researcher observed customers’ reactions immediately after service. It enabled them to gather accurate data as clients’ feelings were still fresh. Apart from watching customers’ reactions, the researcher considered other factors. They included the nature of reception that the clients got upon visiting the outlets and the duration that the representatives took to explain things to customers. Other information included the layout of the stores and the kind of after sales services that the employees extended to clients.
The researcher conducted the experiment in an open setting. There was no interference from internal factors like operations of the outlets. The researcher did their observation as customers went about their business.
The researcher used two modes of data collection. They took notes of customer reactions and well as the behaviors of the sales representatives. The researcher paid attention to non-verbal cues of the clients and how the sales representatives communicated with customers. Apart from observing the interaction between sales representatives and clients, the researcher recorded short videos of what was happening in the sales stores. The video was invaluable during data compilation and analysis. It enabled the researcher to make clarifications in areas where the field notes seemed ambiguous. The researcher used field notes and video record to identify the main themes of customer service, which were apparent in the outlets.
Results and Analysis
The researcher analyzed the data obtained from Apple and General Motors’ stores independently. The data from Apple shop revealed that 98% of customers were satisfied with services delivered. On the other hand, 26% of the customers expressed dissatisfaction with the customer services. Clients were not kept waiting at the reception for long. Despite the heavy traffic, the sales representatives found time to interact and assist all clients who sought their help. The layout of the company’s outlet was appealing, and customers could spot the products without difficulties. At the reception, customers were asked to rate the quality of service delivery before leaving the store. Many customers rated the services as exceptional and expressed their desire to visit the outlet in the future.
For General Motors, 68% of customers expressed their satisfaction with customer service. The store did not ask clients to rate its services. Thus, it was hard to find out the number of customers who would wish to do business with the outlet in the future. At least two percent of clients expressed their dissatisfaction with the quality of service delivery as it was evident based on how they communicated with representatives. The outlet had limited number of sales representatives as the traffic was not heavy. The available representatives took the time to explain to customers the products and services that the outlet offered. They also advised them on the most efficient car to purchase. No client was kept waiting at the reception. The layout of the motor bazaar was appealing, and cars were arranged according to their models.
The study sought to confirm the hypothesis that customer service contributes to organizational success. Based on the findings, the degree of customer service determines organizational success. Apple has grown immensely over the years because of its ability to establish good customer relations. The company considers customer needs when developing products (Beneke, Flynn, Greig, & Mukaiwa, 2013). It gives Apple a competitive edge and enables it to grow its market share. The study revealed that only a few customers are not contented with Apple’s services. The company tries to surpass the expectations of the majority of its clients.
General Motors Company does not have efficient customer services compared to Apple. Less than half its clients express interest in doing business with the company in the future. The dissatisfaction could be attributed to the company’s inability to develop car models that satisfy customers’ tastes. Failure by the corporation to collect customer feedback at the bazaar makes it hard for General Motors to enhance its customer services. The feedback would enable the company to identify the areas that do not meet consumer interests and make necessary adjustments. One should realize that the automobile industry is competitive in innovation, design, and quality of products. General Motors’ ability to satisfy at least 50% of the clients shows that the company is right regarding customer services.
Businesses encounter many challenges in an attempt to fulfill customer demands because of competition and changes in technological innovation. Customers have multiple alternatives in technology and motor industries. Thus, companies must invest in quality service delivery if they wish to remain competitive and make a substantial profit (Strizhakova & Coulter, 2015).
Apple has the upper hand in the technology industry as customers trust in the quality of its products. The provision of quality services results in clients believing that Apple is conscious of their needs. Thus, many customers express interests in not only doing business with the corporation but also referring their friends. Conversely, General Motors offer quality client services. Nevertheless, the company seems not emphasize on customer services more than Apple Inc. It underlines the reason some customers do not express their desire to purchase General Motors’ cars in the future or refer their friends. Nevertheless, it is imperative to appreciate that the two companies operate in different industries and use different business models. Thus, it is hard for them to offer similar customer services (Oluseye, Adeniyi, Odunayo, & Borishade, 2014).
Electronic gadgets are cheaper than automobiles, and hence the two companies target different levels of customers. Apple Company target high-end clients as well as millennials who are versed with technology. On the other hand, General Motors target wealthy individuals only. Apple requires developing gadgets with multiple functionalities to suit the needs of different customers. Additionally, the company needs to develop elegant brands to attract the millennials. General Motors should produce fuel-efficient cars to meet the demand of its target consumers. The disparities in levels of customer services may be attributed to varying needs of their target customers (Griffith, Yalcinkaya, & Rubera, 2014). Apple Company sells directly to customers through numerous wholesale and retail stores. Thus, the company comes into direct contact with clients, which facilitate information gathering. On the other hand, General Motors sell through dealership agents. The company does not interact with customers directly, which could contribute to meet all the needs of the target clients.
In conclusion, businesses cannot succeed in the contemporary world without offering quality customer services. The modern business environment is very competitive as customers can choose from various options. The provision of quality services enables a company to establish a good rapport with clients and overcome competition. Organizations ought to manufacture products that meet consumer interests. Moreover, they require gathering customer feedback to measure their level of satisfaction and make necessary adjustments based on user recommendations.
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