Friday, November 16, 2007

The Internet as preferred channel

I have started working on a new project in the area of multi-channel management. I plan to approach multi-channel management from a service perspective. What will be the benefit of this? And what does it mean? I don’t really know yet, but it seems an interesting endeavour. Let me illustrate this with an example. In multi-channel management the Internet is often perceived as the preferred channel, in particular of the supplier. One of the main arguments is the expected cost-efficiency of the Internet channel. Is this really true?

Grönroos differentiates in his book on Service Management and Marketing between three types of relationship costs for both customer and supplier: direct, indirect, and psychological costs. The Internet channel may be cost-efficient with respect to the direct relationship costs (such as the catalogue, ordering, and invoicing) but may be less cost-efficient with respect to indirect and psychological costs (such as correcting mistakes or handling complaints).

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