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Customer Services: Personalisation or Standardisation?
Abstract: This research faces two practical questions, which have arisen in the past decades and have not found a concrete solution yet: how do individuals expect customer services to be delivered and which is the most effective approach to retain customers.
The importance of customer retention is now widely recognised and the vital role of customer services in it has been agreed. Yet, the bridge that links customer services and customer retention is a field still mined by discussions and arguments.
Scholars depict two main approaches in order to retain consumers: standardisation and customisation. Although academics have produced extensive studies on these approaches and have evaluated both, none has gathered primary data on the matter in order to reach a more realistic, reliable and applicable conclusion.
This dissertation explores the numerous academic works, but also attempts to obtain results through the production of an inductive qualitative research aiming at interviewing consumers in order to discover concretely what are their preferences and the reasons behind their reactions and behaviours.
The results of the research provide concrete answers to this dissertation’s questions: they indicate the exact expectations customers’ have in relation to how customer services agents should serve them and illustrate how individuals’ favourite approach changes depending on subjective factors. Furthermore, this dissertation can serve as a basis for future studies on the topic, as well as represent a priceless starting point on which organisations may train their customer services. Based on academic theory and the research’s findings, it attempts to provide guidelines to create a successful training program for businesses aiming at customer services improvement and consumer retention.