What does “customer service” mean to the customer?

From a recent RetailWire discussion about just what defines “customer service”…my contention in many of these postings is that “it depends” on the type of store. Here’s my latest take:

This phenomenon depends largely on the type of retailer being discussed, and the definition of “good customer service” for that segment of the business. A store like Nordstrom has built a successful model on availability of knowledgeable salespeople, and other luxury or near-luxury retailers would be advised to pay attention. But a mass retailer like Target is not dependent on “high touch” customer service; rather, the most important things it can do to satisfy its shoppers are to ensure that goods are on the shelf and the checkout process is efficient.

As more consumers migrate to “mission shopping” (walking into a store looking for a specific item), the self-service model becomes more important. Consumers are also becoming accustomed to more control through online and mobile shopping. But there is still a place for good CRM, even in the most hands-off models of “customer service.”

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