Enhancing customer service operations in e-business: the emotional dimension

Barnes, D.; Halloway, R.; Hinton, M. and Mieczkowska, S. (2005). Enhancing customer service operations in e-business: the emotional dimension. Journal of Electronic Commerce in Organizations, 3(2) pp. 17–32.

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In today’s increasingly competitive markets, greater emphasis is being placed on customer service as a means of achieving competitive advantage. Many organizations believe that e-business can provide opportunities to improve customer service operations by enabling them to get closer to the customer and enhance the organization-to-customer contact experience. However, use of the Internet fundamentally changes the nature of the customer contact experience. This article investigates this phenomenon from an operations management perspective, by examining the customer service encounter during the business processes of ordering and delivering in e-business. Empirical results from case research investigating eight companies that use e-business in their customer service operations are reported and discussed. The article concludes that unless the emotional aspects of customer service are considered alongside the functional, then barriers to enhanced customer service in e-business will not be overcome.

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