A service is an act of doing something to an individual or something. Therefore, service marketing is considered the process of selling or offering a service to get some returns. Marketing services are different from marketing products (Marketing Teacher n.d., para 1). For example, when a consumer buys a product immediately the right of ownership changes and the consumer owns the product. However, service is consumed at the point of sale and the consumer can not own it or take it away from the seller. For instance, when a consumer visits a salon the service received there is consumed at the point of purchase as in the case when one buys bread and owns it.
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A service has a characteristic that distinguishes it from a product which includes; lack of ownership, intangibility, and also are perishable. This means that it cannot be stored for a long time (Learn Marketing n.d., Para. 4). In addition, a service can not be separated from the provider and can not be offered the same way all through (Armstrong & Kotler 2000, p. 14). For example, if you are traveling in a bus the quality of the service may not be the same all the time due to the experience of the driver or the situation at that particular time.
Characteristics of services
Lack of ownership
According to Marketing teacher (n.d., para.1-7), when the consumer is offered service by the seller, he or she cannot store or own it. Therefore, the purchaser of the service has no right to own the service, the service renders, or even his equipment or tools. Mostly, the service is hired or used for a given duration of time. For example, a car owner may get a service from a mechanic for a particular period but can neither own the mechanic nor his or her tools. A service can not be sold after it has been consumed.
Unlike a product that can be felt or touched, a service cannot be felt or touched. This means that it does not have a real physical appearance. Therefore the quality of the service is measured by how the consumer will perceive the service. In addition, the quality of the service is also determined by where the consumer is purchasing the service from (location). For example in hairdressing, quality services are perceived to be rendered in the big salons especially in towns than in the rural areas.
Services as perishables
One of the distinguishing factors between products and services is that unlike the former, services appear to be quite perishable. This means that there is usually a given timeframe attached to a service. During such a timeframe, they must be offered to the customers in the market. Once service is offered it can not be repeated in the same way it was rendered. For example when traveling either in air, water, or on-road the service only lasts for a particular period (only the period of the journey).
Service is inseparable
According to Learn Marketing (n.d.para.7) services cannot be separated from the one offering them, unlike products that move from the producer to the marketer and later to the consumer. The production and consumption of services usually take place at a point where they have been purchased. For example, at a hotel, the service offered by the waiters and those done by the cooks are part of processing and can not be separated from them.
Services vary (heterogeneous)
Although service marketers work tirelessly to maintain the procedures and standards of providing services such as employing only the trained and qualified workers there are always some differences. According to Learn Marketing (n.d., para.5), it is very hard for one to render a service to a consumer the second time exactly as he had done the first time. For example, when a consumer visits the same salon her satisfaction may not be consistent. This could be due to variation in the quality of the service or the speed of the one offering the service may sometimes be slow.
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How the characteristics of services can solve management problems
The managers should ensure that the services they offer to the consumers are of the highest quality than those offered by their competitors. Although this is difficult, their workers should be well trained and experienced. This will help them in ensuring that the quality of their services is consistent. In addition, when a consumer makes a comment t on their services either positively or negatively they should put it into consideration.
For service marketing to succeed there should be consistency and commitment of workers (Horton n.d., para.10). Therefore, the management should ensure that they market their services. They should apply the 4Ps which are; price, promotion, product, and place. To achieve commitment which is very important in service marketing the PR practitioners should ensure that there is a division of labor and specialization in the firm. Therefore the workers should be given the work they are comfortable with. In addition, there should be departments where each department has professionals in a certain area.
Moreover, a service rendering firm should have a PR department that helps to ensure there is a good relationship between the firm and its consumers and also with society. Through the PR the firm will be able to know how their consumers perceive their services. In addition for the firm to be consistent in the marketing of its services, the management should maintain a relationship with those professionals who have left the firm and joined other positions in the community. The alumni assist the firm on the issues affecting the firm at various levels (Daudelin, 2007, P.1).
Differences between marketing products and marketing services
There are some differences in how products and services are marketed such as:
Services are intangible
As discussed earlier services are intangible and hence when marketing them the seller should meet the client’s particular needs which are only given by description or catalogs. Therefore there is some uncertainty unlike in marketing products which involves buying a product that is physically seen. A product can also be tested or tried before the consumer buys it and hence he buys exactly the good he wants. However, if the product does not please the consumer in most cases he can return it to the seller and it is changed (there are guarantees). In product marketing, it is easier to convince the buyer but in service marketing, it is not easy (Business knows how. n.d. Para. 5).
Building a relationship with the clients
In product marketing in most cases, there is no relationship between the seller and the buyer. When the consumer purchases a good from a seller there are low chances for him to buy the same product from the same salespersons. However, in in-service marketing, the seller has to build a relationship with the seller. A personal relationship is required between the seller and the client because mostly they have face-face contact or meeting. They can also contact each other through a telephone call. However, the first consultation is important as well as setting expectations of what will be carried out (Schindler, n.d).
The other primary difference is on pricing. The prices of products are easier to fix and they are mostly fairly priced and also easy to predict. With products sometimes the prices are negotiable for example those who buy frequently or in bulk are given discounts. However, in-service marketing pricing is difficult because it depends on the kind of service, the time required, and sometimes the equipment to be used. In some services, an initial fee is charged before the service is rendered or the problem is diagnosed especially in medical services and big projects (Gordon, 2008)
For the easy jet, they need to know who are their prospects and provide what they need. They should also be consistent and also committed in their service to the consumers. This will attract many to their services (Krista n.d., para.7).
Successful service marketing requires commitment and also consistency in service provision. Therefore every firm that offers services to the public requires to employ professionals and also to let its workers work in what they ate specialized or have an interest in (a division of labor and specialization). The management should ensure buyers what they want.
Armstrong, G., & Kotler, P., 2000, Marketing: An Introduction. New York: Prentice-Hall Business knows how. n.d., marketing ideas for the business. Web.
Daudelin, S., 2007. Marking product and services, what is the difference between product & service marketing. Web.
Gordon, T., 2008. Tips for marketing your service business. Web.
Horton, J., n.d. The secret of service marketing. Web.
Krista, n.d., 5 differences between marketing a product & marketing a service. Web.
Learn marketing, n.d., Service marketing. Web.
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Marketing Teacher, n.d., Services marketing &the extended mix(7 ps). Web.
Schindler, A, n.d., 5 secrets of good customer service. Web.