How has technology disintermediated services: better or worse?
There are both positive and negative aspects of service. Service in some ways has been disintermediated because of companies reducing call centers and opting for email and chat services. There are many companies that rely on these communications mediums. This is somewhat of an issue however, due to the fact that trying to explain a problem in an email or chat is not always easy for customers. Furthermore, the loss of the ‘human touch’ also occurs and this can impact the brand of the company by making it appear cold or distant.
In other ways, the internet has improved commerce by changing the importance placed on the geographic location and emphasizing distribution channels to create eCommerce structures. Because eCommerce brings business to the consumer, there is less necessity for traditional retail stores. Part of what makes eCommerce possible in this manner is the ability to communicate and ship orders quickly. Today, the internet allows companies to exist in a virtual state, utilizing independent distribution channels such as direct shipping from manufacturers and suppliers. Virtual stores have the advantage of not having to carry supply and can provide ‘on demand service’ in which orders are shipped as they are received from suppliers and manufacturers. While these virtual stores have the advantage of lower overhead, they must still adhere to the components of a traditional business system of commerce, occupation, and organization.
One extremely large change in the disintermediation of service can be seen in the disintermediation of channels such as EBay and Amazon which use different sellers that also have their own customer service centers. This allows EBay and Amazon to concentrate on marketing and other aspects of selling while pushing cost and service positions on the sellers (Jones, 2007).
While this system is efficient it is not without problems as it can tarnish the brand of Amazon and EBay if service is not carried out appropriately. This is a subject of much debate as this customer service disintermediation continues to impact companies.
Jones, G. R. (2007). Introduction to business: How companies create value for people. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.