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Service Marketing

The importance and share of the service sector in the economies of most countries have led to the characterization of the world’s economy today as service-based. For a long time now, the growth of the service sector has been considered as indicative of a country’s economic progress and development. The world’s number one economy, the United States of America (US), is predominantly a service economy. According to Quinn, Baruch and Paquette (1987), “Services include all economic activities whose output is not a physical product or construction, is generally consumed at the time it is produced, and provides added value in forms (such as convenience, amusement, timeliness, comfort or health) that are essentially intangible concerns of its first purchaser”

The service industry include:

– Transportation services,
– Communication services,
– Wholesale and Retail trade,
– Financial (banking, insurance, real estate, etc.),
– Tourism,
– Health,
– Car-wash, and
– Auto repair services.
Others are
– Fast-food outlets
– Advertising agencies,
– management Consulting,
– educational,
– barbing and hair salons, etc.

MARKETING MIX FOR SERVICES AND CHARACTERISTICS

The service marketing mix elements, like the physical product marketing mix variables, Consist of Product, Price, Place and Promotion. However, in addition to the traditional four (4) Ps of the marketing mix, the service marketing mix has three (3) extra Ps namely, People, Process and Physical Evidence.

1. People:
Human beings are a very important resource in the provision of service. The interaction between service employees and customers is very important for an efficient service delivery. Therefore, efficient staff recruitment and training to acquire the right caliber of staff is very important in creating a competitive advantage. Quality service depends very much on the skills, attitudes and behaviours of employees towards customers. This is why many companies today train their staff on interpersonal skills and customer service for customer satisfaction.

2. Process:
This is the actual procedure, mechanisms and flow of activities through which a service is delivered (Zeithaml and Bitner, 1996). The processes used to deliver the service are very important in quality service delivery. One bank is noted for quick and efficient teller service delivery, while the other is not. What are the systems the more efficient bank put in place to enable that efficiency? You prefer one fast-food outlet to the other. What are the things that your preferred fast-food outlet operator provides that make you prefer it. The systems provided by the service provider, which make for greater efficiency in service delivery, are the process.

3. Physical Evidence (Physical Environment) This is the environment in which the service is delivered, and where customers and the organization interact, as well as any tangible component that facilitates performance and communication of the service (Zeithaml and Bitner, 1996). Physical evidence is about where the service is being delivered from. It is particularly relevant to retailers operating out of shops. This element of the marketing mix will distinguish a company from its competitors. Physical evidence can be used to charge a premium price for a service and establish a positive experience. For example, all hotels provide a bed to sleep on, but one of the things affecting them is the price charged, the condition of the room (physical evidence) holding the bed. Customers will make judgments about the organisation based on the physical evidence. For example, if you walk into a restaurant, you expect a clean and friendly environment, if the restaurant is stinky or dirty, customers are likely to walk out. This is before they have even received the service.

Examples of PE-brochures, letter-heads, biz cards, physical facilities, equipments, buildings, etc.

The Service Marketing Mix involves Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical Evidence. Firms marketing a service need to get each of these elements correct. The marketing mix for a service has additional elements because the characteristics of a service are different to the characteristics of a product.