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Services marketing

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Basics of Service Marketing

Basics of Service Marketing

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  • 1. SERVICES MARKETING 1 | D e b a y a n D u t t a Services Marketing Services are a form of product that consists of activities, benefits, or satisfaction offered for sale that are essentially intangible and do not result in the ownership of anything. Although services are “products” in a general sense, they have special characteristics and marketing needs. The biggest differences come from the fact that services are essentially intangible and they are created through direct interactions with customers. Examples: Banking, Hotels, airlines Nature and Characteristics of Service A company must consider four service characteristics when designing the marketing programs:  Intangibility  Inseparatibilty  Variability  Perishability Fig: 3.1 Four Service Characteristics SERVICES Intangibility Inseparability Variability Perishability Services cannot be seen, tasted, felt. Heard or smelled before purchase Services cannot be separate from their producers Quality of services depends on who provides them & when, where & how Services cannot be stored for later sale or use
  • 2. SERVICES MARKETING 2 | D e b a y a n D u t t a Service Intangibility means that services cannot be seen, tasted, felt, heard, or smelled before they are bought. For example, Airline passengers have nothing but a ticket and the promise that they and their luggage will arrive safely at the intended destination, hopefully at the same time. Therefore, the service provider’s task is to make the service tangible in one or more ways and to send the right signals about the quality. This can also be called evidence management, in which the service organization presents its customers with organized, honest evidence of its capabilities. Example: Mayo Clinic in USA. Service Inseparability means that services cannot be separated from their providers, whether the providers are people or machines. Physical goods are produced, then stored, later sold, and still later consumed. In contrast services are first sold, then produced and consumed at the same time. In service marketing the service provider is the product. If a service employee provides a service then the employee becomes a part of the service. Because the customer is also present as the service is produced, provider-customer interaction is a special feature of services marketing. Both the provider and the customer affect the service outcome. Service variability means that the quality of the service depends on who provides them as well as when, where and how they are provided. Example same bank (say) HDFC Bank Ltd. Has the reputation of providing better service than others. Still within a given branch, one service manager at a particular counter may be cheerful and efficient, whereas another counter service manager a few feet away may be unpleasant and slow. Even the quality of service of a single customer service manager or relationship manager at HDFC Bank Ltd varies according to his/her energy, frame of mind at the time of each customer encounter. Service perishability means that services cannot be stored for a later sale or use. The perishability of services is not a problem when the demand is steady. However, when demand fluctuates, service firms often have difficult problems. For example, because of rush-hour demand, public transportation companies have to own much more equipment than they would, if demand were even throughout the day. Thus, service firms often design strategies for producing better match between demand and supply. Hotels and resorts charge lower prices in the off-season to attract more guests and restaurants hire part time employees to serve during peak periods.
  • 3. SERVICES MARKETING 3 | D e b a y a n D u t t a Satisfied & Pproductive service employees Greater Service Value Satisfied & loyal customers Healthy service profits & growth Internal service quality Marketing strategies for service firms Just like manufacturing businesses, good service firms use marketing to position themselves strongly in chosen target markets. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group promises to “Make it Happen” to its customers, DHL offers “On-Time Delivery” & E-Zone invites customers to “Experience Electronics”. These and other service firms establish their positions through traditional marketing mix activities. However, because services differ from tangible products, they often require additional marketing approaches. The Service-Profit Chain In a service business the customer and the front-line service employee interact to create the service. Effective interaction, in turn, depends on the skills of front-line service employees and on the support processes backing up these employees. Thus successful service companies focus their attention on both their customers and their employees. They understand the service-profit chain, which links service firm profits with employee and customer satisfaction. Ex: Four Seasons Fig: 3.2 Service-Profit Chain  Internal Service Quality: superior employee selection & training, a quality work environment, and strong support for those dealing with customers, which results in …  Satisfied & productive service employees: more satisfied and loyal hardworking employees, which result in …  Greater Service Value: more effective and efficient customer value creation and service delivery, which results in …  Satisfied & loyal customers: satisfied customers who remain loyal, repeat purchase, and refer other customers, which results in …  Healthy service profits & growths: superior service firm performance.
  • 4. SERVICES MARKETING 4 | D e b a y a n D u t t a Types of service marketing Service marketing requires more than just traditional external marketing using Four Ps. There are 3 types of service marketing: Internal marketing, external marketing & Interactive marketing. Fig: 3.3 Types of Service Marketing  Internal marketing refers to orienting and motivating customer-contact employees and supporting service people to work as a team to provide customer satisfaction. Marketers must get everyone in the organization to be customer centered. In fact, internal marketing precede external marketing.  Interactive marketing means that the service quality depends heavily on the quality of the buyer-seller interaction during the service encounter. In service marketing the service quality depends on both the service deliverer and the quality of the delivery. Service marketers, therefore, have to master interactive marketing skills.  External marketing is the combination of the four Ps to deliver a superior service to the customer. Managing Service Differentiation In these days of intense price competition, service marketers often complain about the difficulty of differentiating their services from those of competitors. The solution to the price competition is to develop a differentiated offer, delivery and image. The offer can include innovative features that set one company’s offer from the competitors’ offer. For example some hotels offer car-rental, banking, and business-center services in their lobbies and free high-speed internet connections in their rooms. Airlines differentiate through frequent-flyer award programs and special services. The service companies can differentiate their service delivery by having more able and reliable customer-contact people, by developing a superior physical environment in which the service product is delivered, or by designing a superior delivery process. For example many grocery chains now offer online shopping and home delivery as a better way to shop than having to drive, park, wait in line. COMPANY EMPLOYEESCUSTOMERS Internal marketing External marketing Interactive marketing
  • 5. SERVICES MARKETING 5 | D e b a y a n D u t t a Service companies also can work on differentiating their images through symbols and branding. Example: Merrill Lynch’s bull, MGM’s lion, McDonald’s golden arches, LIC’s pair of hands, and SBI’s keyhole. Managing service quality As service firm can differentiate itself by delivering consistently higher quality than its competitors provide. Most service industries have now joined the customer-driven quality movement. Unfortunately, service quality is harder to define and judge than the product quality. Customer satisfaction and retention are a few measures of quality. A service firm’s ability to hang on to their customers depends on how consistently it delivers value to them. Top service companies set high service-quality standards. They watch service performance closely, both their own and that of competitors. Service quality will always vary, depending on the interactions between employees and customers. As hard as they try, even the best companies will have an occasional late delivery, burned steak, or grumpy employee. However, good service recovery can turn angry customer into loyal ones. Therefore, companies should take steps not only to provide good service every time but also to recover from service mistakes when they do occur. The first step is to empower front-line service employees – to give them the authority, responsibility, and incentives they need to recognize, care about, and tend to customer needs. Example: Nordstorm Managing service productivity With their costs rising rapidly, service firms are under great pressure to increase service productivity. They can do so in several ways. They can train current employees better or hire new ones who will work harder or more skilfully. They can increase the quantity of their service by giving up some quality. The provider can “industrialize the service” by adding equipment and standardizing production, as in McDonald’s assembly-line approach to fast-food retailing. Finally the provider can harness the power of technology. It has great untapped potential to make service workers more productive. However, companies must avoid pushing productivity so hard that doing so reduces quality. Attempts to industrialize a service or to cut cost can make a service company more efficient in the short run. But they can also reduce its longer run ability to innovate, maintain service quality, or respond to consumer needs and desires. Many airlines have learned this lesson the hard way as they attempt to streamline and economize in the face of rising cost. In short, the companies should be careful not to take the “service” out of service.
  • 6. SERVICES MARKETING 6 | D e b a y a n D u t t a Workbook 1. Define service marketing. 2. Identify and explain the four characteristics that affect the marketing of a service. 3. What are the different marketing strategies adopted by the service firms? 4. How do the services offered by a doctor differ from those offered by a chemist in the light of the characteristics of service marketing? 5. Explain the concept of service marketing and the strategies in context of the banking system in India. Group Activities What are the different services offered by the following?  Banks  Mutual Fund Houses  Insurance Companies  Broking Houses  NBFCs Give real life examples in each of these five instances

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