Trends in Customer Services and Interfunctional Coordination at Manufacturers of Electrical Equipment

Lucie Kanovska, Eva Tomášková

Abstract


Purpose. The main purpose of the paper is described the most important trends of current manufacturers producing electrical equipment in the Czech Republic. The trends are concentrated on the field of customer services and interfunctional coordination, a part of market orientation. The manufactures focused on electric equipment are the part of Czech classification CZ-NACE 27 prepared by Czech Statistical Office. Manufactures of electrical equipment create an important part of the national economy of the Czech Republic

Methodology. We wanted to know what are the currents trends in the two above-mentioned fields by manufactures producing electrical equipment, who are very important members for industry today, especially as subcontractors for car industry and mechanical engineering. Therefore we have prepared questionnaire, where questions were mainly in the form of the Likert scale, finding out information about customer services and interfunctional coordination. Our respondents were employees, usually directors and managers, with high competencies of knowing customer services in this particular market and interfunctional coordination in a company. The total of 22 companies were selected for the survey. We focused to the following industries belonging to CZ-NACE 27: CZ-NACE 27, CZ-NACE 271 and CZ-NACE 273.  The total number of whole three selected industries according to Czech Statistical Office is 136 companies, so it means 16,2 % companies from all registered companies participating in our research. The complete database of results was analyzed by using statistical methods.

Results. The main findings of the research are divided in the groups. The first group is describing the main trends in customer services and the second one in interfunctional coordination. So, the crucial trends in customer services are the following ones: in part of Service Supply - New products included services are developed, tested and improved according to customer needs. Furthermore extraordinary customer services stressed on speed, personal communication and price are provided for so-called VIP customers. In part of Service Importance - Respondents clearly understand strategic importance and benefits of providing customer services. In part of Service delivery - Provided products, incl. services, are delivered in time, according to customer orders and in very good technical conditions.  Moreover manufactures evaluate their customer service quality very well. Finally, in part of Ecology - Respondents enable repeated using of products by help of after-sale service, renovation or refurbished items for their customers. For the second group: some companies have gaps especially in attitudes towards their employees and in implementation of the sustainable strategy. They mostly prefer to achieve short-term goals than long-term goals.

The theoretical contribution. The chosen area is very topical, fascinating but still not sufficiently described. Global understanding of services that manufacturers really develop, sell, deliver and manage is still limited.  The previous results showed that interfunctional coordination are the main part of the market orientation. A lot of researches are aimed to the main contributions and barriers of interfunctional coordination.

Practical implications (if applicable). Many manufacturers constantly add more and more customer services to their product offering to complement it to increase its value on markets. For modern manufacturing companies can be adopting customer services key competitive advantage. The challenge for improving service strategy is to get familiar with trends used by current manufacturers, it means for example to identify these services, recognize how to deliverer them and be proactive in their realization. All activities of companies have to be well coordinated. Only in this case can companies prosper in long time period.

Keywords: customer services, interfunctional coordination, market orientation, manufacturers of electrical equipment.

Paper type: Research paper.


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