Customer Service Essentials From Local To Global Business Essay

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One day I needed to go for a short business intraday trip to Shenzhen, so I called a border bus company for enquiry. I asked the lady who answer the phone that if there be an overnight bus from Huanggang Port to Wanchai. She answered me irrelevantly, "There will be bus from Wanchai to Huanggang." I was confused and wonder, "Is there any bus coming back to Hong Kong Island?" She annoyed then, "If one goes, one must come back!" I remembered there are gates for bus parking and inquired again, "What is the gate number?" She yelled out loud, "Do you think you are going to take an airplane?" I was so surprised for her response. I didn't know how to continue the conversation. I held back and refrained, "Please be polite!" She cut the call sharply after saying, "I don't know what you're talking about!" After that conversation, I decided I wouldn't use the transportation service from the bus company.

Another day I went to the wet market to buy some vegetable, the sales woman asked for $3.5 HKD. I gave her 3 dollars with a 50 cents Renminbi by mistake since the gold color and size were the same. She threw the 50 cents to the wet floor and asked back for a HK 50cent. I told her that the coin was real money which is in higher rate and I apologized to her that was a mistake. She then shouted for she didn't need no Renminbi! For that 50 cents matter onward, I have not been buying from her counter agin.

"Customer service" is our daily life. A teacher is selling his/her knowledge to students. A policeman is selling his service to the citizen. Even a volunteer in a call center of Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong is selling his/her 'listening' and 'caring' skill to the ones who call. Everybody in this world is a customer and a seller. We're trading things and services to survive. In the domain of servicing, we can see ourselves as others seeing us. The problem we investigate is about "what is customer service essentials that organizations need to survive. As consumers, a proper customer service is our basic need. I don't need the two ladis in above example to have excellent service or even so call "professional". I just need the bus company staff to tell me the right thing i.e. the information only; and the wet market lady to be a normal person.


"Maslow's hierarchy of needs" is a theory proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper. His theories link with many other theories of human developmental psychology, all of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Many theorists say that a firm has to show humanity to survive since customer needs care. If a business firm has humanity, they probably have the basic need to survive according to "Maslow's hierarchy of needs" (see below figure)maslow-en.jpg

Basic needs are obvious-they are the literal requirements for human survival. The human body simply cannot continue to function without air, water and food.

Air, water, and food are basic needs for survival for humans and animals. Clothing and shelter provide necessary protection.

Basically organizations are assumed to need to make profit or at less can survive in competitiveness. What is customers' basic need from our customer service? Organizations need these essentials like we need air, water and food to survive. This paper's practice approach elaborates global experience and local wisdom. These elements basic need in sufficient for business organizations especially for service-oriented firms.

The central theme is elaborate from the findings of HKACE(2005), sub themes is key ideas from other literatures worldwide from East Asia to Western countries. The set of ideas and findings is different from those that had been traditionally mentioned.

Kroelinger M. 2002 cited about Madsen's criteria for steps to defining the research problem is to sustain interest and stimulate imagination within range of competencies; based on obtainable data and manageable in size; potential to make a contribution to body of knowledge

Brief literature review

In accordance to HKACE 2005, it is hypothesized that customer satisfaction reveals that happy employees will lead to happy customers.

H1: Employee dedication has a positive influence on excellent products & service

H2: excellent products & service has a positive influence on customer satisfaction

H3: Customer satisfaction has a positive influence on customer loyalty

H4: Customer loyalty has a positive influence on high profits

H5: High profits has a positive influence on favorable working conditions

H6: Favorable working conditions has a positive influence on employee satisfaction

H7: Employee satisfaction has a positive influence on employee dedication

This following framework summarized their hypothesized relationships:

hypothesized relationships.jpg

Customer emotions often experience through the 3Ps (HKACE 2005) which are the products (include service); people & processes. Through the 3Ps, customers gain satisfaction so that they trust the organization and leads to loyalty. So, logically thinking, customers may also feel disappointed through the 3Ps. So, problems arise also through the 3Ps.

Though this 3Ps (HKACE 2005) approach, we can find out problems that organizations are facing with customers.

The following multilevel perspective diagram shows this paper's conceptualized relationships between the problems from 3Ps and the key ideas from demonstrated under the NEED model what customer service essentials are.

Conceptual framework.jpg

N: Focus on your customers' Needs

E: Understand/manage your customers' Expectations

E: Empower/motivate your Employees

D: Deliver customer-focused service with dedicated staff, to meet

or even exceed customers' expectations.

Juran (1974), suggested in his handbook, that under 20 % are "operator controllable.'' and over 80% of all problems are "management controllable". Langevin, R. G. (1988) cited that "15% of all quality problems are related to a particular worker or tool. The other 85% arise from faults in the company's system and will continue until that system is changed." (Deming1982).

The management obligation as well as worker responsibility is responsible for service quality ( Langevin, R. G. 1988).

Importance of the research

Research is a useful tool to collect important data in helping organizations to identify their own weaknesses before others discover and exploit them. It will identify the perceptions and facts what customers think. Leaders can use this research to discover organizations' true place in the eye and heart of customers.

On the other hand, marketing often requires marketers to actually anticipate customer needs; they don't have the luxury of classic marketing paradigm of first giving customers what they want, then giving what they need. (Ketchum D. 2003)

The knowing of customer wants and needs is fundamental of the marketing concept. The customer-oriented and market-orientated nature requires organizations to understand 'who' their customers might be, 'where' they are, 'how' to target them and 'what' they really 'want'. An improvement procedure can be implemented in most service organizations by applying a systematic approach.

The research is also significant because organizations need to survive in competition all around the world. Indeed before the internet was invented, the competition is not so tough. For an example, my organization was selling American Motorcycle parts to Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen & Tianjin etc. But all those customers have the knowledge and information to make their choice about what their motorcycles need and what kind of service they need from us. For the process of purchasing, there are a lot of changes from previous to now.


As to analyze the past to prepare for the future (Webster, J., & Watson, R. T. 2002), an integrated literature review is to be the methodology of this paper. This paper examines a conceptual model proposed that integrates the literature in the customer service domain. Webster, J., & Watson, R. T. (2002) explain that Literature Review method is good for a mature topic which has an accumulated body of research that can be analysis and synthesis. To find out what are the essentials of customer service, the integrative literature review is a form of research that reviews, critiques, and synthesizes literatures in this subject in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated (Torraco, R. J. 2005). This author states that several integrative literature reviews have made seminal contributions to our knowledge. He also presents that the HRDR agreed that integrated literature review may bring out new perspectives on key issues on key issues in the management field. This article discusses the distinctive characteristics of this form of research. Torraco, R. J. (2005) counters people's misconception that integrative literature reviews are easier to write than other types of research articles or less rigorous. In the contrast, this method is a sophisticated form of research that requires a great deal of research skill and insight. Larger theoretical and empirical studies that address this issue can be used and analyzed in depth.

Problems will be seen through 3Ps approach geographically & historically by reviewing East meets West literatures from a timeline. That means the literature might not be only from the U.S... We can explore these issues in greater detail from time to time. Typical service industry vary in some degree is understood, customer service essentials will be are in commons for human behavior and emotions may not changed a lot in decades. The change only occurred in our environment and technologies. So, the advantage of using this method is we can use many points of view from different angles, different countries, and different time period and see the results, findings and ideas from many authors who use different methodologies to research. The edge is this topic is a mature one. A unified definition of customer service essentials is proposed, together with a conceptual model that provides a multilevel perspective to see in depth the relationship that companies build with customers so as to summarize the general concept out. This is a methodology capable of providing valid answer to the research question and tables are to be used for structuring the reviews (Webster, J., & Watson, R. T. 2002).

centric+ matrix.jpg

Source: Webster, J., & Watson, R. T. 2002

Sampling and Data Analysis

Webster, J., & Watson, R. T. (2002) suggests using admirable example of reviewing two major streams of research to inform this topic. In the development of the management theory, the term 'customer loyalty' and 'customer satisfaction' are so often to be used in service related theories among scholars in publications. And these two customers behavioral terms are the keys to this paper's hypothesized relationships to high profits. In fact these two terms are to be used as key words to search from Proquest (to make good use of the University's resource and avoid searching for not appropriate results) for literature. 59162 and 99156 results were found. 20 samples' number are generated from each result of the top 100 of population. PQ Search-Customer loyalty.jpg

Source: ProquestPQ Search-Customer satisfaction.jpg

Source: Proquest

Simple random sampling is used. All possible samples are equally likely to occur. Simple random sampling refers to a sampling method that has the following properties.

The population searched from the key term 'customer loyalty' consists of 59162 objects and consists of 99156 objects from the key term 'customer satisfaction. Since the engine of Proquest already generates the most appropriate literatures' priority from the 1st number of literature, this research uses the top100 as the population

Random Number Generator is used from the link:

Samples chosen by Random Number Generator from key term ' customer satisfaction':random generater -Cus Satis.jpg

Samples chosen by Random Number Generator from key term ' Customer Loyalty':random generater -Cus Loy.jpg

Two results from Random Number Generator (Source:

A large range of various writers might be chosen from 1900 to 2012. These researchers discuss the links among customer expectations, needs, satisfaction, loyalty, and profitability. The contents and key idea is basically discussing what customers need and how organizations can fulfill their need so as to gain profit. These literatures are appropriate for the level of analysis. The value of this paper serves the interest of organization leaders, top managers, stakeholders and service professionals. This also brings together previous authors' work to help and highlight the phenomenon and suggest significant practice and meaning of customer service.

Qualitative method is to be used to find key ideas and sum up the main themes and sub-themes. Under these themes, we can investigate ideas and outcomes from different authors' perspective and different methods they used. The set of ideas and findings developed from these multilevel co-relations help organizations to avoid treats and strengthen their weaknesses survive and by that.


The limitation of this research may miss what's beyond the obvious. Samples cannot be generated from a single engine that has a function to scan countries and time in an average proportion. Meanwhile, complexity builds as annoying aspects to introduce uncertainty into our businesses. Thankfully, an insightful discussion gives us the wisdom to handle more effectively.