Service, product marketing

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SERVICE marketing is perhaps not as straight forward as product marketing because with product marketing a marketer has the actual tangible product which speaks for itself.

Further efforts by the marketer to convince the market are in most instances complimentary in product marketing. This is the reason why service organisations have to ensure that each interaction with clients secures them repeat business.

A service is defined therefore as any act or performance one party can offer to another that is largely intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything. Examples of service organisations in the business sector include, management consulting firms, law firms, medical practices, airlines and hotels just to mention a few.

Whilst airlines, hotels, management consulting firms have the privilege of advertising their services, medical practices and law firms have to rely on the goodwill they receive from word of mouth communications of satisfied clients. Given this, these kinds of service providers have to be at their very best when delivering their service.

Based on a service quality model, researchers in the services marketing field identified five determinants of service quality in order of importance;

  • Reliability
  • Responsiveness
  • Assurance
  • Empathy
  • Tangibles
  • Reliability

This is the ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.

For example when a person buys a house they expect to enjoy the full benefits of that house without fear that the seller may come and claim it back.

To safe guard his investment he may approach a law firm for legal contracts. The legal firm therefore should undertake to transfer ownership to the buyer by a document such a title deed.

This is called conveyancing. If the law firm undertakes to be the conveyancor they have to draft the legal documentation accurately and ensure that the documents are processed and signed according to the law in order to secure their client’s investment.

  •  Responsiveness

This is the willingness to help customers and to provide prompt service.

An example of responsiveness is the way the frontline personnel attend to a client and direct him well according to his requirements in the shortest possible time. A person who wants to check into a hotel does not want to spend hours at the reception desk. The process should therefore be as efficient as possible.

  •  Assurance

The knowledge and courtesy of the service provider and their ability to convey trust and confidence will be important to the client.

I suppose when a patient needs an operation they would like assurance from the doctor that all will be well. It would help if the doctor was calm and confident in their approach.

  •  Empathy

A service provider must ensure that their clients are given individual attention. Utmost care must be exercised in dealing with each client.

Service providers must show that they have the clients’ best interest at heart. Convenient business hours are also important here.

  •  Tangibles

It is important for the service provider to have visually appealing facilities. The facilities also speak into what kind of a service to expect.

Facilities with modern equipment and employees who are well trained and have a neat professional outlook will certainly encourage clients.

I imagine a dentist, a patient would be at ease if the dentist was using state-of-the-art equipment which did not smell of saliva.

The very thought of one drilling into your tooth or pulling it out is enough torture. A clean becoming environment would ease the discomfort. Once a service business has these five aspects well rooted in their business it is likely to succeed.

Satisfied clients will refer their relatives, friends and associates to the business. It would auger well for businesses that are not allowed to advertise. A good reputation undoubtedly goes a long way . . .

 Till next week keep reading the red publication and remain Brand Savvy!