Overview of Customer Service Industry

The term “customer service industry” is a misnomer because of there really no such thing as the customer service industry. All businesses and many other organizations including schools and government agencies depend on customer service for their survival and success.

It must be noted that some businesses such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, online companies and technology companies are often more dependent on customer service for their survival than traditional industries. Service industries also depend upon providing good customer service for their survival.

Writers on business topics and others will often define retailers, restaurants, hotels and similar businesses as the “customer service industry.” A better way to define this business would be as businesses highly dependent on upon customer service for their survival rather than customer service businesses.

The Growth of the Service Industries

The biggest change in the economy in the last fifty years was that most people moved from jobs that separated them from customer service to jobs dependent upon customer service. In a traditional industry a large percentage, often a majority of workers were separated from customer service. Factory workers never saw or met the users of their products.
Today most people work in jobs in fields such as retail, financial services, healthcare, technology, education and government where they have some contact with customers. This makes customer service critical to almost everybody.

Despite this many people don’t grasp the concept of customer service or how it applies to them. That is why there is now a large customer service education industry.

Customer Service Education Industry

In recent decades business leaders have realized how critical concept service is and have taken steps to educate their employees about it. This has led to the development of a customer service education industry.
There are now many firms that come into businesses and teach customer service to employees. These services can take a number of forms.

  • On-site training and coaching in which experts come to a business and train employees.
  • Online and distance learning solutions in which employees have computerized learning materials available to them. Many of these take the form of course employees are required to take.

A growing segment of this industry is customer training and certification for individuals. Many people are now getting this training on their own to increase their prospects of finding employment or improve their own businesses.

Customer Service Consulting

Another growing industry is customer service consulting in this business experts come into a firm or organization and analyze its customer service. They then make recommendations about customer service and often conduct training.

Quite a few these firms offer evaluation and other services. They may offer customer service technology solutions.

Customer Service Providers

This includes companies that provide customer relationship management, customer service technology and so on. An example of this would be a company like TeleTech which handles telephone customer service for other firms. Many big corporations now outsource their customer service to such firms.

It can be difficult to determine the size of this industry because firms like to hide the fact that they’re outsourcing customer service. TeleTech often refuses to reveal who its customers are for example.