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    Customer Service as Differentiator for e-Business

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    One way e-businesses can differentiate their business is by providing benefits to the customer. One important aspect is customer service, such as FAQ or one-click shopping cart. Markets see the value of customer relationship management (CRM). The goal is to maintain a long-term relationship with the customers.

    Explain the importance of customer service and customer support in an e-business and discuss some of the strategies businesses can use in creating customer service, customer support levels and customer relationship management.

    Points to consider include the following:
    > The life time value of a customer
    > FAQ's
    > Tailor programs
    > Customization
    > Handling returns
    > Shopping cart
    > Ease of use
    > Security
    > Call centers

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    Solution Preview

    At one level, customer service and support may be the ONLY way for an e-business to differentiate itself in today's market. On-line marketplaces are now a dime-a-dozen and just about every business (whether they have only an online presence or a brick and mortar storefront as well) sells things online. Thus the e-business draw is no longer the ability to purchase things online. At one point in the development of the Internet, the online storefront was a draw and a way to differentiate, but that is no longer the case. Branding is also no longer a differentiator, since I can buy Oakley sunglasses or Tag Huer watches, not only from Oakley and Tag Huer, but also from Amazon and hundreds of other websites. Price is no longer a differentiator because given all of the choices one has; there is most likely, someone somewhere, selling what you want for slightly less. Thus price (for both e-business and brick and mortar businesses) comes under even more pressure with the advent of online stores, because it is so easy to find the same thing for a lower price.

    Being able to buy something online means I don't have to get in my car, deal with traffic, find parking, ...

    Solution Summary

    Customer service and support may be the ONLY way for an e-business to differentiate itself in today's market