What is the Customer Service
It is universally acknowledged that products are of two kinds, products for customers and products for industrial use. As industrial products are not the key factors in planning a physical distribution strategy, they will not be mentioned in this text.
An important characteristic of any product is its availability at the place where a customer wishes consumes it. And this is what logistics is chiefly concerned with products are of any value when and only when whey are moved to the right place where it is available to the customer. thus, we should make an analysis of products, depending on who uses them and how they are used.
Consumer products are those that are directed to ultimate consumers. According to the three different ways in which consumers select goods and services and where they buy them, consumer products can be put into three categories: convenience products, shopping products, and specialty products.
Convenience products are those goods and services that consumers purchase frequently, immediately, and with little comparative shopping. Typical products are banking services, tobacco items, and many foodstuffs. These products generally require wide distribution through many outlets; distribution costs are typically high but are more than justified by the increased sales potential that is brought about by this wide and extensive distribution. Customer service levels, as expressed in terms of product availability accessibility, must be high to encourage any reasonable degree of customer patronage for the products.
Shopping products are those for which customers are willing to seek and compare: comparing in many locations the price, quality, and performance, and making a purchase only after careful deliberation. Typical products in this category are fashion clothes, automobiles, home furnishings, and medical care. Because of the customer’s willingness to shop around, an individual supplier may stock goods or offer services in only a few outlets in a given market area. Distribution costs for such suppliers are somewhat lower than for convenience products, and product distribution need not be as widespread.
Specialty, products are those for which buyers are willing to expend a substantial effort and often to wait a significant amount of time in order to acquire them. Buyers seek out particular types and brands of goods and services. Example can be any type of goods ranging from fine foods to custom-made automobiles or a service such as management consulting advice. Because buyers insist on particular brands, distribution is centralized and customer service levels are not as high as those for convenience and shopping costs can be the lowest of any product category. Because of this, many firms will attempt to create brand preference for their product line.