An Introduction to E-Services

E-services are important in B2C e-commerce for managing customer relations and enhancing sales. Rapidly advancement of technology such as wireless, broadband, smart cards, data warehousing, data mining and agent technologies, are contribute toward the effective accessibility and servicing of the correctly targeted customers for business while providing more choices, options and ultimately power to customers in their transactions with business. Further e-service provides a new business paradigm for the organizations operating in the electronic environment.

There are three primary reasons for firms to develop e-services. Firstly, margin, consumer acquisition and service costs are generally much lower in an online medium versus that in an offline medium. Secondly, e-service inexpensively and effectively delivers high-quality, timely and in-depth product information desired by consumers. E-services also provide consumers with benefits such as better price quality comparisons and customized search processes based on criteria of importance. Finally, the use of e-services enables firms to develop a deep understanding of consumer behavior.

The view of e-service is much broader than the concepts of IT services, web services or infrastructure service as it e-service includes all these services further it also encompasses the service product, service environment and service delivery that comprise any business model, whether it belongs to a goods manufacturer or a pure service provider. The customer’s interaction or contact with the organization is through the information and communication technology (ICT) in e-service. This remote service encounter subsequently has developed into a self-service experience. However, experience of self service and e-service are quite different. In self service operations, a customer has to go to the information and communication technology center while, in e-service, a customer can conveniently receive the service through the internet at home or other places. In other words, self service is less flexible than e-service due to constraints of location.

Similarly customer’s interaction or contact with the organization in the e-service is through the technology, such as web site. During an e-service encounter customer have to rely entirely on sight and sound while the traditional service experience can use all senses. In addition to this e-service unlike traditional service is not constrained by distance and opening hours, thus delivered delivers convenience. Linked with convenience is customer control. As customer can choose the channel through which they will acquire a product, the mode of delivery for the product, the extent of customization of the product and the extent to which they are involved in the design and delivery of the product.

Advancement of technology led the transformation of physical products to pure e-service components and has significant implications for building customer relationships. Traditional path services laid emphasis on automated service or self service operation, firms used to focus on increased efficiency and productivity of business and reduce the cost of the product or service in order to increase profit. On the other hand on e-service path firms are focus on enhanced service operations, provides greater conveniences and support services to customers. Further improved customer satisfaction and retention by providing best quality service for example grocery chains are looking to use loyalty cards and focus on one-to-one promotion and marketing efforts based on the information gathered using these cards allow the grocery chains to develop relationships with their customers. Moreover, they provide value to customers through focused information provision, reduced search time and increased convenience for the customers.

As in the electronic world the customer and the merchant do not meet face to face and the clients are more sensitive with increased options and solutions available to them online. Many companies are adopting Internet-based e-services for conducting business transactions and sharing business information with their customers and business partners. E-services has been defined as web-based services or interactive services that is delivered on the internet. E-service is deeds, efforts or performances whose delivery is mediated by information technology that include the Web, information kiosks and mobile devices. Such e-service includes the service element of e-tailing, customer support and service and service delivery. Further, E-service is defined as the provision of service over electronic networks. This concept includes services provided by a typical service organization as well as the services provided by the goods manufacturers where the quality of customer care plays an important role.

An e-service is an interactive, content-centered and Internet-based customer service, driven by the customer and integrated with related organizational customer support processes and technologies with the goal of strengthening the customer-service provider relationship. E-service is defined as it is a service available via the internet that provides information, completes tasks or conducts transactions. It can be any electrically provided services offered directly or indirectly to customers, including direct as well as after sales services. In addition to this e-service can deliver high quality, timely and extensive product information to consumer inexpensively and effectively. They can provide better price and quality comparisons. Furthermore, a company that can respond to the needs of the customer accommodate their requests promptly and support their buying decisions creates value and wins customer patronage and loyalty. E-service operation include all the customer centric activities starting from pre-transaction, transaction and post transaction interactions through the internet in delivering products or services within service level agreement.

Clearly, although providing personalized and accurate customer information with better tracking, delivery and payment details is an online service in B2C e-commerce generally appreciated by customers. Similarly e-service functions incorporated on e-commerce sites that can quickly provide online shoppers with decision-making support win e-customers and get them to make a purchase. Furthermore, e-service is becoming increasingly important not only in determining the success of failure of electronic commerce, but also in providing consumers with superior experience with respect to the interactive flow of information. E-service can be usefully conceptualized as an interactive information service. Such as information provided by or collected from and about the customers can be gathered and analysed by the e-service provider and used as the basis for the customization of the service that organization offers to the customers. Examples of e-services are computer-related services such as personal, cultural, recreational, communication and financial services.

E-service concept is not simply a combination of words electric and service. As in true e-service operation part or all the interaction between the service provider and the customer is conducted through the Internet. Thus an automatic teller machine (ATM) transaction is an example of a simple electronic plus service experience, while buying a ticket on the Net is an example of e-service experience. E-service may be considered to be relatively new channel of service provision as well as new way of conducting business.

There is an important conceptual relationship is that between e-service and self-service. In self-service operation customer has to go to the technology such as ATM to receive a service, while in e-service customer can receive the service through the Internet at home or in other places. Self-service technologies are often used to enhance the overall service experience delivered to the customer by focusing human service agent intervention at the point at which intervention can make the most impact. As e-service firstly, reduce marginal consumer acquisition and service cost, due to the reduction in human intervention and ease of e-service scalability. Secondly, e-services deliver consumers high quality, anytime and in-depth product information, which reduce the consumer price sensitivity and finally e-services support the capture of information relating to the search, evaluation and purchasing activities of consumers.

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