Changes are occurring in the supplier‐customer interface. It sometimes looks as though the customer now has to provide the economies of commercial transactions while the supplier reaps the benefits. Written from a supplier perspective, this paper suggests that issues of customer service, satisfaction and retention are more complex than often assumed, but must be understood if they are to be used as the basis of competitive advantage. It is possible to gain the benefits of higher productivity and offer customers the service they expect – but only if those expectations are known and managed.
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