People, process: Crucial marketing elements

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Nonto Masuku

IN December I decided to take up the services of one local Internet provider.

I went there to register and was told the system was down (not a good sign). However, I was asked to pay for the service, fill in a form and leave it with one of the front office staff.

I was told someone would come through my office to set it up in the next day or so. Almost three weeks down the line, I had not been contacted and no one had come through. Fair enough there had been holidays in between, but that still was not good enough. I decided to give them a call.

I was passed on from one person to another and it finally came to light that “my job” was not in the system. I finally spoke to someone who was apparently in charge of setting up the service.

He started telling me how his colleagues had been dishonest with me. Apparently he had not received the instruction to do the instalment so he was not at fault. He went on to explain their internal processes and to give me information I really was not interested in. I just wanted an Internet system installed and working.

Everything else was neither here nor there. The Internet was installed two days later though I had to make several calls to ensure someone came through. Not a good start to our relationship.

In the last two weeks I covered the four Ps in marketing, namely, product, price, place and promotion.

These are traditionally the elements that make up the marketing mix. In the last few years, however, three other Ps have been added to the equation. The fifth P is people and the other two – physical evidence and process mainly apply to the service industries. This article will look at people and process.

  • People
  • In my previous articles, I touched on the importance of people and how they affect the image of an organisation. People are your employees and management. Anyone who comes into contact with your customers will make an impression and that can have a profound effect — positive or negative — on customer satisfaction.

    The reputation of your brand rests in your people’s hands. They must, therefore, be appropriately trained, well motivated and have the right attitude. When I called my internet provider and I was put on hold, I could hear people in the background shouting and talking. It sounded quite chaotic and unprofessional.

  • Process
  • The processes that you use in the day-to- day operation of your business have a flow-on effect on the customer’s experience. This is particularly true for service industries.

    Issues such as waiting times, the information given to customers and the helpfulness of staff are all vital to keep customers happy. Customers are not interested in the detail of how your business runs. What matters to them is that the system works.

    The process of giving a service and the behaviour of those who deliver are crucial to customer satisfaction.