The importance of customer service to organisations of all kinds, whether in the public or private sector, is now acknowledged. But the definition is frequently too narrow. Good service starts before a transaction takes place and goes on after its completion, including the market research pre‐ordering climate; the buying/ordering process; the period from order to delivery, packaging or presentation; transport and logistics; delivery, complaint handling; payment and debt collection and after sales support service. Poor service may be contributed to by organisational culture, social attitudes, monopolies and market dominance and management failings. Improvement depends on a comprehensive programme, tackling causes as well as symptoms, involving a customer service survey; organisation review; standard setting; improved communications; training; and a process for continuous monitoring.
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