The first unique characteristic of services is intangibility and it posses some unique problems in marketing. How does the service marketer tackle these problems?
Highlights the benefits: In the first place, the marketer can tackle the intangibility factor by highlighting the benefits of the service. He can use statistics / facts and figures about his service for convincing customers. He can specifically highlight factors like reliability, performance, safety ad customer care, quoting facts and figures about his service as well as that of his competitors/industry.
Associate the service with certain easily perceived objects and ideas. Often intangibility of the service hampers customer understanding of the concept of the service. The marketer can overcome this difficulty by associating the service with certain easily perceived objects and ideas. Let us take the case of package tours. Here, the marketer can enlarge customerâ€™s understanding of the service by providing them with detailed information about the hotels where they will be accommodated and the food, transport facilities, etc which will be given to them on the tours. By giving information on these concrete dimensions of the tour, the marketer can help the customers understand the service better despite the inherent intangibility.
Focus on the tangible and visible aspects:
Service marketers would do well to focus on the tangible and visible aspects of the service. In physical facilities, equipment, personnel, etc., there will be some tangible and visible aspects. With physical facilities, their very appearance will be a tangible aspect. As regards equipment, the quality and brand will be the tangible aspects; with personnel, their qualifications and the training they have undergone will be tangible aspects; and with communication materials, their get up and production quality will be tangible aspects. The service marketers can also use visualization to tackle the inherent intangibility. In his communication, he can show relevant visuals that will give the consumers a good picture of the high satisfaction derived by those who have tried the service.
Because of the inseparability factor, customers judge the quality of a service based on the person performing the service. In fact, often they insist that a particular person should provide the service for them. This limits the quantum of service produced. This can be tackled to an extent by making the service personnel work faster and cover more customers in the available time, using appropriate gadgets if necessary. Standardizing the service performance process step by step and ensuring that the process is handled the same way by all service personnel and reducing the variability through proper selection, training and motivation of the service personnel are the other possible steps.
The problem of variability can be overcome to an extent by putting of personnel in charge of the service, rater individuals. Second, by systematically coaching every service person in the outfit, the standard of everyone can be raised to a uniformly high level. Reducing the human element and enhancing mechanization and automation is another solution.
Tackling perish ability:
We have seen that the perishable characteristic of services poses a special problem as it renders demand supply balancing difficult. Since services cannot be stored and supplied, it is often difficult to smoothen out their demand and supply. This means that capacity planning, capacity scheduling, and capacity utilization will call for great ingenuity in service marketing. Differential pricing can be used as a device for matching demand and supply better. With such as pricing, the peak time demand can be reduced and non-peak time demand cultivated. If the marketer does not prefer differential process, he can achieve the same effect by having a regular price pegged at a relatively higher level and allowing a discount on it as warranted by the situation. Reservation systems too can be useful in some cases. On the supply side the marketers can go in for part time employees, so as to enhance the service supply during times of peak demand.