Giving a shape to the service

Giving a shape to the service is a prime marketers’ task. In order to carry it out, the service marketer must have a good grasp of the following ideas:

* Service Benefits
* Service Expectations
* Service Offer
* Service Elements
* Service Forms
* Service Level/Quality/Standard

Service benefits: Service marketers must thoroughly understand the nature of the service. What we mean is that service marketer must be clear about the service benefits involved in the concerned case. Service benefits simply means customer benefit resulting from the service. It is the bedrock of any service product. Services also have implications on sale of goods particularly like white goods, automobiles, sophisticated medical equipments and items which negatively affect the user if stopped because of not servicing timely. If the bad service continues post sale then it may altogether affect the sale of product itself.

Service expectations: Service expectations refer to the service benefits which customers seek from the service. Service marketers must be clear about the benefits customers seek from the service. The whole service concept has to be based on the benefits customers seek and which the marketers is willing to provide.

Service offer: Service offer means the bunch of benefits that is offered by the firm in the service. The service marketer has to decide what benefits should be put into the service package. Obviously, this decision has to stem from the customer service expectation (what benefits do customers seek from the service?). The success of a service depends on how closely the service offer matches the service expectation.

Service elements are just an elaboration of service offer. Conversely, service elements collectively constitute the services offer. The term service offer denotes the various service benefits that are to be passed on to customers. Usually, service elements in a service offer will consist of tangible as well as intangible components.

Service form explains in what way (or how) the service is to be provided:

Service level / quality / standard explains what quality and how such of service is to be provided. Deciding unambiguously the service level/quality standard which the firm would commit in its service is an important part of giving a shape to the service.

Organizing Delivery System:

Organizing the delivery system and channel / intermediaries is the next important task. Issues in this regard spring from the service offer. The delivery system must fulfill the service offer and generate the expected satisfaction. Location decisions on use of channels / intermediaries are the two main issues here.

Location Decision:

Location decision i.e. where to locate the service performance is the first issue. Actually, many services are ‘fixed’ location-wise and services providers are able to serve only a limited number of customers located in the area. Thus, choosing the location appropriately and attracting the right kind of and maximum number of consumers is of special importance in service marketing.

A related issue is to assess whether is to assess whether multiple location are feasible in the given service and if so, many and where all one should have the locations for the service. The considerations in this regard include the following:

How important is location to the customers in the given service? Is the service more technology-based or more people-based? Howe flexible is the service? Can the equipment and people be moved to different locations without any loss in quality?

To cite one example, services like cable TV lend for effective distribution to subscribers through the technology route and do not suffer a constraint in terms of location.

Close attention should be paid to the physical surroundings / atmosphere of the location. It is an important factor in services. It greatly influences the customers’ perception of the service.