Customer Service

Learning Outcomes

  • Define customer service

cus·tom·er serv·ice

noun: customer service; plural noun: customer services

  • the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.

Depending on who you ask, the definition of customer service varies widely depending on the understanding of the basic terms “customer” and “service.” A quick Internet search reveals thousands of interpretations of this ubiquitous business terminology. For example, the American Marketing Association defines customer service as ”a customer-oriented corporate philosophy that integrates and manages all of the elements of the customer interface within a predetermined cost-service mix.” Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation often describes customer service as something that’s not a skill but rather the result of learning and applying a combination of skills including planning, problem-solving, decision-making, critical thinking, and professionalism.[1]

Luxury automotive retailer Carl Sewell wrote in his bestselling book, Customers for Life: How to Turn That One-Time Buyer Into a Lifetime Customer, that customer service is simply asking what customers want and giving it to them.

Regardless of the definition, customer service is dependent on the act of meeting (and hopefully exceeding) the wants and needs of customers.

Practice Questions