We all know about what product marketing is, we market something which is tangible but talking about service marketing in detail, it’s an intangible object, how service is been marketed is the hot issue.
Service marketing can be understood by comparing it with product marketing, whereas in product marketing we try to understand consumer demand and fulfill them with a product. Similarly, in service marketing we try to understand the service demand of a consumer and delivering the right services to the customers to satisfy their needs.
When you go for a haircut, the barber cuts your hair, he does not give you any product. But he’s providing you a service by cutting your hair. This is called service, moreover marketing about these services or communicating about it is called service marketing. Marketing about a service is very different from product marketing as in service you don’t have any product to show to the customer.
What’s in it for me?
- Importance of Service Marketing
- Service Marketing Mix
- 4I’s of Service Marketing
- Service Marketing Triangle
- Service Gap Model
IMPORTANCE OF SERVICE MARKETING
You can easily differentiate your business by simply providing better quality services. For ex.- If you go McDonald’s or Burger King, both places will provide you burger, their tangible product will be same but what will make them different is their services.
Importance of Relationship-
Whenever you go to buy a product you ask the seller to shoe you the product, but in service marketing the seller can’t show you the service he can only deliver it to you. So it’s very difficult to sell service, the seller first need to build relation and win the trust in order to sell the service.
It is very important in a service to retain your customers, because to win new customer is very difficult so make sure that your existing customer don’t leave your services.
SERVICE MARKETING MIX
Marketing mix applied in services are the extended version of product marketing mix. For a tangible product, whenever there is even a slightest combination with intangible service extended marketing mix will be used.
To tangibilize the intangible, marketers use extended marketing mix variables- People as employees, processes as Standard operating procedures and Physical evidence as ambiance and atmosphere. The extended three P’s other than product, price (to know more about price), place and promotion are:
To point out this element in service marketing mix refers to the person/ staff delivering the service. Of course they are the Employees. As a matter of fact they are the internal customers who buy your vision. Recruit the best, train and motivate them. Employee Relationship Management precedes Customer Relationship Management.
For example- If you go for a haircut, the barber cutting your haircut is the service provider. He comes under people. Is the barber qualifies enough to cut your hair, is he certified, how his own hair is dressed, how he cuts other people hair, all these questions comes under this category. Therefore people matters a lot in delivering any service. Imagine I’ve opened a salon where Javed Habib himself cuts the hair of customers for this reason my business will grow rapidly. So a business must have a well trained team of people to provide quality services.
What do you mean by People?
- Employees, they must buy our vision, they are our internal customers.
- Internal marketing : recruit the best, train and keep their morale high.
This category considers the standard operating procedures of the business. Eating burger at McDonald’s in Mumbai or in Delhi will give you same taste, this is because their vendors are same, their processes are same. The operation of their business are standard all over the country. Because these standardization create value addition in your business.
If I’m planning to go to a hotel, I’ll book a room for me, in that exchange they’ll provide me some services of parking area, their hotel may have a beautiful fountain, interior. All these room, parking area, fountain, interior, ambiance comes under physical evidence.
What does physical evidence encompass?
- Facade, atrium, facilities
- State-of -the-art technology
- Employee uniform
- Ambiance: lights, colors and Music
For more information: watch 7P’s of Marketing by Sahil Khanna.
4Is OF SERVICE MARKETING
These are the features of service marketing-
Service is something which you cannot touch, see or smell, you can only feel it, experience it. But service may use the tangible product, for say, Domino’s uses some tangible product pizza, bread, and then selling it in the form of services.
In services, there are no stock maintenance unlike products. You need not to stock products. In product marketing you stock product according to the demand of the product but you can not stock services. Services are perishable in nature, they perishes as soon as they have been delivered to you.
Unlike product, services are not same in nature, it varies from person to person, business to business providing it to you. These are heterogeneous in nature. Ex- Indigo airline will provide you different services as compares to SpiceJet.
Whenever we purchase we get the ownership of that product whereas in services the ownership of service cannot be taken from the person who is actually delivering it.
SERVICE MARKETING TRIANGLE
This service marketing triangle denotes the relationship between the company, it’s employees and the customers in any given service industry. Company connects with it’s employees through Internal marketing and with it’s customer through External marketing whereas the relation build between the customer and the employees is through Interactive marketing. These three marketing are the arms of any business and it creates relationship between these three parties.
This marketing is adopted when the company wants to tell about their products or services to the customers. All the traditional and modern marketing tools comes in this criteria. Company can communicate through TV, newspaper, radio, magazine, social media, etc.
Suppose you have a salon, but to have your haircut you yourself don’t have it your own salon, instead you visit different salon to have a haircut that means you yourself don’t believe in your services, so how can your customers will like it.
So to excel your services you need to first make your employees purchase it. This is internal marketing, where before selling your product to customer you’ll ask your employees to adopt it and give feedback about the product or services.
It covers many areas such as companies provide discount to their employees and their friends and relatives. This creates the trust within the employees and the company. It also gives the message to the customer that if the employees of the company himself uses the product of the company, that means the product has something special and it’s completely genuine.
This creates the relationship between the employees and the customer. Employees know about the product and customer is in need of that product, if both comes in contact employees can give him genuine reviews about the product and how it will satisfy your product. Through this, more products will be sold, more awareness will be created and will result in relationship marketing.
Relationship marketing means approaching your customer as friends, solving their problems and fulfilling their needs through the product. The benefit of relationship marketing is that whenever customer feels there is some fault in the product or service he can freely tell it to employees.
Sahil Khanna’s video on Service Marketing Triangle will give you detailed explanation on this topic.
SERVICE QUALITY GAP MODEL
Customer service deals largely with the customer perception, customer expectation and the service actually provided. If these services meets according to the expectation and perception of the customer, then the customer is satisfied, but if not the customer is dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction can occur due to various gaps that arise in the service.
Gap 1: CUSTOMER EXPECTATION VS MANAGEMENT PERCEPTION: KNOWLEDGE GAP- NOT KNOWING WHAT CUSTOMER EXPECTS.
When the customer expectation and perception about the service differs from the what is been delivered to them then this gap arises. Management perceives differently on what his expectation is. Ex- Customer expects prompt medical care but the hospital management is not able to perceive it correctly and focuses on ambiance and food.
Gap 2: MANAGEMENT PERCEPTION VS SERVICE QUALITY SPECIFICATIONS: STANDARD GAPS
It is the gap between management definition of customer needs and translation of those into design and delivery specification. This occurs due to not selecting the right service design and standards. Management fails to lay down quantified standards of delivery. Ex- Management is aware of the fact the customer expects prompt medical facility but are not capable of maintaining hygiene and cleanliness in the hospital.
Gap 3: SERVICE QUALITY SPECIFICATION AND SERVICE DELIVERY: DELIVERY GAP
Standards are laid down by the management but employees do not deliver up to the benchmarks set. It may be due to lack of training and poor ERM practices. Ex- Nurses and doctors not properly trained.
Gap 4: EXTERNAL MARKETING COMMUNICATION AND SERVICE DELIVERY: COMMUNICATION GAP
Tall claims are made in advertising campaigns as regards to the service quality or processes but on ground delivery of service is poor. Ex- a hotel advertises about the 24*7 hot running water with AC facility, but when you ask for hot water, a housekeeping boy runs to your room bringing hot water in a bucket.
Gap 5: CUSTOMER EXPECTATION AND CUSTOMER’S OWN PERCEPTION: CUSTOMER GAP
It is the difference between the design delivery specification and the customer perception of service execution. Ex- When a doctor visits a patient at right time and again for prompt care, the patient mis-perceives it to be something wrong.
Examples of how service marketing mix is implemented in various service sectors:
People- In airline industry, people are those who provide services during your airway journey- Pilot, Air hostess, Cabin crew, Airport operators, etc.
Process- They provide you a safe & timely air journey to your destination, security checking, baggage loading and safety These are there processes.
Physical Evidence- This comprise of Airport, Entrance, Lobby, Aeroplane are these are physical evidence.
People- People in hotel industry include hotel staff, manager, front desk employees, housekeeping staff, chef, etc.
Process- Hotels provide you a stay, provide buffet services, housekeeping services, baggage loading, these all comes under processes.
Physical evidence- Hotel provide you the service to check in but where do they make you stay is the physical evidence- their room, Physical evidence also includes facade, parking area, lobby, hall etc.
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This article will serve you as a mini guide for service marketing as it contains all related topics such as 4I’s, 7P’s Marketing mix, Service triangle, Gap model and covered variety of examples.
Since marketing of a service gets a bit difficult as you don’t have any tangible product to show to your customers. Here we try to understand the service demand of a consumer and try to deliver the right services on right time to satisfy the needs of the customer.
Characteristics are same as features which include that services are Intangible in nature, it cannot be stored (Inventory), Inconsistent unlike product and Inseparability.