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Characteristics of a service marketing

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  • 1. Characteristics of a Service<br />What exactly are the characteristics of a service? How are services different from a product? In fact many organisations do have service elements to the product they sell, for example McDonald’s sell physical products i.e. burgers but consumers are also concerned about the quality and speed of service, are staff cheerful and welcoming and do they serve with a smile on their face?<br />There are five characteristics to a service which will be discussed below.<br />1. Lack of ownership.<br />You cannot own and store a service like you can a product. Services are used or hired for a period of time. For example when buying a ticket to the USA the service lasts maybe 9 hours each way , but consumers want and expect excellent service for that time. Because you can measure the duration of the service consumers become more demanding of it.<br />2. Intangibility<br />You cannot hold or touch a service unlike a product. In saying that although services are intangible the experience consumers obtain from the service has an impact on how they will perceive it. What do consumers perceive from customer service? the location, and the inner presentation of where they are purchasing the service?.<br />3. Inseparability<br />Services cannot be separated from the service providers. A product when produced can be taken away from the producer. However a service is produced at or near the point of purchase. Take visiting a restaurant, you order your meal, the waiting and delivery of the meal, the service provided by the waiter/ress is all apart of the service production process and is inseparable, the staff in a restaurant are as apart of the process as well as the quality of food provided.<br />4. Perishibility<br />Services last a specific time and cannot be stored like a product for later use. If travelling by train, coach or air the service will only last the duration of the journey. The service is developed and used almost simultaneously. Again because of this time constraint consumers demand more.<br />5. Heterogeneity<br />It is very difficult to make each service experience identical. If travelling by plane the service quality may differ from the first time you travelled by that airline to the second, because the airhostess is more or less experienced.A concert performed by a group on two nights may differ in slight ways because it is very difficult to standardise every dance move. Generally systems and procedures are put into place to make sure the service provided is consistent all the time, training in service organisations is essential for this, however in saying this there will always be subtle differences.<br />Service Marketing Mix/Extended Marketing Mix<br />Having discussed the characteristics of a service, let us now look at the marketing mix of a service.<br />The service marketing mix comprises off the 7’p’s. These include:• Product • Price• Place• Promotion• People• Process• Physical evidence.<br />Lets now look at the remaining 3 p’s:<br />People<br />An essential ingredient to any service provision is the use of appropriate staff and people. Recruiting the right staff and training them appropriately in the delivery of their service is essential if the organisation wants to obtain a form of competitive advantage. Consumers make judgments and deliver perceptions of the service based on the employees they interact with. Staff should have the appropriate interpersonal skills, aptititude, and service knowledge to provide the service that consumers are paying for. Many British organisations aim to apply for the Investors In People accreditation, which tells consumers that staff are taken care off by the company and they are trained to certain standards.<br />Process<br />Refers to the systems used to assist the organisation in delivering the service. Imagine you walk into Burger King and you order a Whopper Meal and you get it delivered within 2 minutes. What was the process that allowed you to obtain an efficient service delivery? Banks that send out Credit Cards automatically when their customers old one has expired again require an efficient process to identify expiry dates and renewal. An efficient service that replaces old credit cards will foster consumer loyalty and confidence in the company.<br />Physical Evidence<br />Where is the service being delivered? Physical Evidence is the element of the service mix which allows the consumer again to make judgments on the organisation. If you walk into a restaurant your expectations are of a clean, friendly environment. On an aircraft if you travel first class you expect enough room to be able to lay down! Physical evidence is an essential ingredient of the service mix, consumers will make perceptions based on their sight of the service provision which will have an impact on the organisations perceptual plan of the service.<br /> <br /> <br />To summarise service marketing looks at:<br />The Characteristics of a service that are:(1) Lack of ownership (2) Intangibility (3) Inseparability(4) Perishability (5) Heterogeneity. <br />The Service marketing mix involves analysing the 7’p of marketing involving, Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Physical Evidence, Process and People.<br />To certain extent managing services are more complicated then managing products, products can be standardised, to standardise a service is far more difficult as there are more input factors i.e. people, physical evidence, process to manage then with a product.<br />