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Principles of Service Marketing

Principles of Service Marketing  Assignment / Homework Help
When we observe the process of selling a service we realize how difficult it is to sell a service and how scary it is to buy one. Apart from the differences in characteristics between products and sales another difference is in the after sale experience. For instance what happens when a product fails and what are the consequences of a failed service? When a product fails the usual outcome is it doesn't work. For instance we plug it in but it doesn't start. Or we put it on and find a tear. The obvious reactions are an exchange or putting the warranty options into use. But what do we do when a service fails? How do we even know if it has failed? Due to these factors buying and selling a service can be extremely challenging.

  • The first rule of marketing is that the focus should not be on marketing but on the service itself. The service companies spend far too much effort on marketing or spreading the word and do not concentrate on their primary focus, the service. The importance of marketing shouldn't be ignored but most of the times it is either done too quickly or the effort on marketing exceeds the attempts made to improve the service. In both the cases marketing will cause more harm than good. On the other hand if the focus is primarily on constant improvement on service then marketing efforts are cheaper, easier and effective.

    Let us consider the example of two eateries A and B. Both these eateries provide good food but the profits at A is much more than B. People find the staff at 'A' much more pleasant and cheerful. The delivery is never delayed and the ambience is good. On the other hand the account manager at 'B' is curt and the service often delayed. Now when a company develops a bad reputation it becomes very difficult to create new business developments. They will have to first remove doubts and fears from the prospects mind and then make efforts at showcasing their abilities. While firms like 'A' overtime build a reputation and a solid base of references. They reap the benefits of following the first principle of marketing which is to focus and work diligently towards improving the service itself.

  • The second principle is facing the reality. To assume that our service is bad rather than good drives us to continually improve our services. Most of the service industries are not aware of their service problems or they are under the illusion that their service quality is good. Typically most of the small industries and mid-sized ones are finding it difficult to maintain the adequate level of service leave alone find ways of improvement.

    Service industries like the FedEx or McDonald's service standards are often taken for granted. People have enough faith in their services and feel they can never go wrong. Certain industries do provide very efficient, organized and dependable services and alongside we have our share of frustrating experiences with others. For instance it is a test of our patience when we are put on hold for long durations by the tech support. If people have options they do not put up with such callousness. But in case of tech supports there are few choices. But where there are choices, like which airlines should be chosen for travelling, tolerance for bad service disappears.

  • The third principle says selling a service is like selling a relationship. When we are selling a service we are not selling our expertise. This is so as the client does not always have the expertise to evaluate our expertise. Instead we should focus on selling a relationship because that is the only way it works. When we are selling a service we are selling a relationship.

    When a company hires someone for service it is usually done because the company lacks the expertise to do it themselves. As a result they cannot effectively evaluate his service. From the clients' prospect they too lack the expertise to evaluate his skills. For example, a service industry puts in a lot of hard work to make its website work across multiple browsers and platforms. All the efforts go unseen and wasted as the client does not have the expertise to evaluate this hard work. Neither does it have any counter balancing weight to offset any unpleasant experience the client might have had with the service. It is true that hours of coding cannot make up for one episode of bad behaviour faced by the client. The client remembers how he was treated by the service staff or the manner in which his e-mails were handled but tends to forget the graphics on the site.

    A service company cannot rely on a client's ability to recognize its abilities. But it should focus on how the client feels about the service industry and whether or not it has managed to develop faith in the client's mind. Selling a service is like selling a relationship and trust building is where the focus should lie.

  • The fourth principle lays stress on innovation. The service industry not only needs to deliver what the customer needs or wants but also what it would love to have. There are at least three stages to the maturing of a service industry. The first stage is where the service industry strives to satisfy the needs of the customers. The second stage includes the process of improvement which the industry creates in its service to meet the client's wants and demands. This is the stage where most industries are blinded by the illusion of fulfilment of their goal. They believe they have achieved the maximum a client can be provided with. However it is the third and the final stage which is of greatest importance. Very few service industries reach this stage. This is the stage of innovation. In this stage the industry creates something which its customers have not thought could even exist. Service industries like Disney World, FedEx, McDonald's fall in the category of industries which have reached this third stage. For them fast service is not fast enough it needs to be made faster. Fun knows no boundaries it is constantly redefined. They are not content with a good service, it has to be bettered.

    At this stage we cannot observe our competitors and find new ideas because most of the competitors are stuck at stage two. This principle makes sure the industry never becomes complacent and believes they are good. Constant improvement should be the motivation for success. Service can always be made better.

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