Between the 1960's and 1980's, scholars such as Christian Grönroos and Leonard Berry began the study of a new specialized area of marketing: Service Marketing. (Bjerke and Hultman. 2002) Whilst some of the general principles of marketing can be applied to services, a new set of tools were needed due to the different characteristics of services. According to Kotler et al, (2002) several fundamental characteristics distinguish services from products, namely: intangibility, inseparability, variability, perishability and lack of ownership.
[...] Using the hotel industry to illustrate how customers can affect the services mix, high profile guests at a hotel can enhance its image and positively affect consumer perception of its benefits, whereas badly behaved guests can damage its reputation. Organizations can decrease variability by managing its policies, targeting and customer mix to direct the expectations and behavior of customers. To reduce the likelihood of customer dissatisfaction, organizations must first implement effective targeting through promotion and pricing (Fisk et al. 2000)[xviii] to ensure the correct customer segment for which the service was designed is attracted. [...]
[...] (1981) Op cit. Palmer, Adrian. (1999) marketing of services”. In Michael J. Baker The Marketing Book. Chapter 29, pp.669-692. 4th Edn. Butterworth-Heinemann. Oxford Fisk et al. (2000) Op. cit. Palmer, Adrian. (1999) Op cit. [xii] Fisk et al. (2000) op. cit. [xiii] Bowen, D. and Schneider, B. (1985) “Boundary-spanning-role [...]
[...] Employees, as part of the participant element are very important to the services industry as the reputation of a service company is closely linked to the quality of customer service provided. As customers use employees as quality cues from which to evaluate their service experience, the appearance, social and technical skills of personnel, particularly frontline ‘boundary spanning' (Bowen and Schneider. 1985)[xiii] personnel is very important. The behavior of employees, such as their helpfulness, courtesy and expertise, and their appearance, (dress and grooming) affects customer's perception of quality. [...]
[...] It can be seen that in the services sector, both staff and customers take an active role in the provision of the service, therefore it is clear that ‘participants' is the best description of this element of the services marketing mix. Overcoming Intangibility & Variability: Participant Education The inherent intangibility of services can have the negative affect of increasing the perceived risk of the customer, therefore management and marketing tactics to reduce risk are necessary. To reduce the perceived risks resultant of intangibility, services can be augmented with tangible evidence such as staff uniforms or images depicting the service outcome (E.g. [...]
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