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Customer service

The notion of customer service may seem quaint in an era when everything and anything can be bought without interacting with another human being. But it has become one of the last remaining ways any brand -- but a luxury brand in particular -- can make itself stand out in a cluttered market place. Look at online footwear retailer Zappos, which used a nearly obsessive level of customer service to distinguish itself from competitors. Isaac Brekken / Los Angeles Times