During the past 10-15 years marketers and consumers have increasingly pondered and discussed if customer service has improved or declined. During this time we’ve experienced the great marketing power of IT and social media but have also heard and/or shared many “horror stories” of poor customer service in a changing marketplace. Which is true? Has customer service declined, improved, and/or merely changed? The answer is simply, “YES - all of the above”. However, the key challenge, for both consumers and marketers, is not so much a “yea vs. nay” determination, but to better examine the what, why, and how of this change – to well understand the circumstances that underlie the shifts in customer service as well as the opportunities and risks that lie in front of it as we go forward in time and technology. This theory paper attempts to examine what transitions have occurred in the customer service relationship and environment during the past 10-15 years as the equilibrium of power and relationship between marketing organizations and customers has shifted during the current IT/Social Media-based marketing era - to consider what has changed, why and how it has changed, and what the future may hold for it as well.
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Martin, "Customer Service in the IT/Social Media Marketing Era: Reverting to a Zero-sum Game" (2019). Association of Marketing Theory and Practice Proceedings 2019. 3.