The Philippine population has reached 76.5 million as of May 2000 with an average annual growth of 2.36% according to the National Statistics Office (NSO). The biggest expenditure of an average Filipino family is on food and beverage. Thus, food retail outlets still form the bulk of retail outlets in the country. Although retailing may sound a lucrative business nowadays, entrepreneurs have to regularly reinvent and introduce new concepts to survive the stiff competition.
The number of retail establishments in the country is estimated to be over 400,000.However, most of these are home-based industries. These small and medium scale businesses lack the financial resources to implement the necessary improvements or expansions. To keep up with the "giants" smaller traditional retailers must stay competitive. One of the keys to obtain a firm footing despite the difficult environment without too much expenditure is by giving importance on customer service. If customers are not treated properly, businesses are likely to lose them. Quality customer service could dramatically improve customer loyalty, costumer count, employee efficiency and consequently sales.
Customer service is the ability of an organization to constantly and consistently give the customer what they want and need. If a particular business could provide these, customers are apt to return and do business with the certain company again. However, more local and international businesses are being opened. Consumers are becoming more aware of the unlimited choices of best goods and services at the most competitive prices around.
Customer service is already offered by most of the retailers in the country. A company must then go beyond the traditional way on how to go about customer service. It should cover areas that do and do not come in direct contact with the customers. Entrepreneurs should provide both tangible and intangible services to their customers. The entire enterprise must pull together to provide quality customer service.
Tangible services include the quality of the product, the services offered and the competitiveness of the prices. Intangible services are how one is able to please or satisfy the customer. To be able to obtain the intangible services, one must understand what quality customer service is.
Quality customer service is about exceeding the customers' satisfaction. It is about building long lasting relationship with the customers. This could be accomplished by setting good impression to the customers. A genuine greeting with a smile as the customer enters the store will be more appreciated than by mechanically greeting customers like what is usually observed in popular food chains and malls in the country. Making the customers feel that they are important by tending to their needs not only satisfy them but could also help improve employee efficiency and eventually complete a sales transaction. According to Albrecht & Zemke (1985), The average...