By Barbara A. Gutek

In "the strong previous days", provider companies often knew ther buyers individually, or a minimum of through sight. nowa days, conventional provider relationships have mutated virtually past acceptance, and customer support contacts are more and more automatic and nameless. This quantity explores the altering nature of shopper provider, exhibiting companies tips to adapt and construct a carrier enterprise that offers shoppers the "personal" carrier they nonetheless yearn for.

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The rest of the century saw fewer and fewer 'help wanted' signs outside factories and more ads for work in sales, advertising, entertainment, restaurants, medical, computers, and all kinds of customer service. America shifted from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. By 1998, more than 75 percent of all American workers were working in services. Many kinds of work once done in the home by family members have become businesses servicing the needs of two-income families. We now have professional child care workers in place of stay-at-home moms, security companies that protect our homes and property instead of neighbors keeping an eye on it, lawn and landscaping services to mow our lawns and tend our flowers instead of doing it ourselves, take-out food instead of home cooking (sixty-six take-out meals per person in 1997), and even learning centers to help our kids with their homework when mom and dad don't have time.

Service firms, senior executives rated "being a leader in customer service" as the most important element in their business vision. 1 Both businesses and the customers they serve value good service, but the companies don't deliver it and the customers are not satisfied. What's going on here? The problem with service is pervasive. It doesn't matter if we're talking about a trip to the doctor, a visit to the shopping mall, a phone call to the gas company, or a stop for fast food. We might be discussing ordering luggage or candy from a Web site or banking online.

Page iii The Brave New Service Strategy Aligning Customer Relationships, Market Strategies, and Business Structures Barbara A. Gutek and Theresa Welsh Page iv Special discounts on bulk quantities of AMACOM books are available to corporations, professional associations, and other organizations. For details, contact Special Sales Department, AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. : 212-903-8316 Fax: 212-903-8083 This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered.

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