Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.

According to Turban et al. (2002), “Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation."

Its importance varies by product, industry and customer; defective or broken merchandise can be exchanged, often only with a receipt and within a specified time frame. Retail stores will often have a desk or counter devoted to dealing with returns, exchanges and complaints, or will perform related functions at the point of sale.

Customer service may be provided by a person (e.g., sales and service representative), or by automated means called self-service. Examples of self service are Internet sites. The experience a customer has of a product also affect the total service experience, but this is more of a product direct feature than what is included in the definition of customer service.

Customer service is normally an integral part of a company’s customer value proposition. From the point of view of an overall sales process engineering effort, customer service plays an important role in an organization's ability to generate income and revenue. From that perspective, customer service should be included as part of an overall approach to systematic improvement.

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Customer Service. The Official Guide to Customer Service is Mike McKinley. Mike McKinley is a businessman, consultant, motivational speaker, author, and developer of a showcase garden destination. For over 25 years, he was involved in the daily operations of the multi-million dollar educational publishing house that he founded.

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