The unique features of services have their associated implications in the matter of marketing. It is these implications that actually render service marketing a specialized task.
Implications of intangibility
Let us first take intangibility. The intangibility of services holds many special implications in marketing. A majority of them relate to quality assurance. First, because of the intangibility, in assessing the quality of a service, the customer relies more on subjective impressions and less on concrete evidence. Second, prescribing standards of quality in a service situation is also difficult. Third, intangibility also implies that the customer has to have faith in the person providing the service and has to go by trust to a large extent in judging the service quality. After all, no service can be seen in advance by the customer; and hence, he cannot judge its quality and value in advance; he cannot sample it in advance as with a physical product. Even the sampling job in the attempt at standardization quality poses some unusual problems in a service situation. As a combined result of all these factors, assuring quality and creating customer satisfaction in a service situation becomes more difficult. Moreover, because of the intangibility, it becomes impossible to patent a service or have copyright for it. Intangibility also results in some complexity in the matter of advertising and promotion. That is why in a service situation. Often, making the intangible tangible to some extent possible becomes a key task.
Implications of Inseparability:
The inseparability factor tends to localize the production and marketing of services. Consequently, it tends to limit the market quantitatively as well as in the geographical sense. Inseparability also limits the scope in the matter of distribution and restricts the use of marketing channels/intermediaries.
Due to the inseparability factor, customers form their opinions services through their interaction with the service personnel who directly come in contact with them. They also form their impressions based on the physical surroundings in which they receive the service. They tend to equate the service quality with quality of this interaction.
Implications of Variability/ individuality /Heterogeneity:
The variability factor often leaves the consumer confused. He feels that services performance is a non-standard affair, varying widely and is dependent on who actually performs the service.
Implications of Perish ability:
The perishable or un-storable character of services accentuates the risk and uncertainly that is generally associated with any business. It enhances the problem of demand-supply mismatch. In the first place, fluctuation is particularly striking in services. Added to that, service supply cannot be easily increased or decreased so as to match the changes in demand.
As a combined effect of the perish ability factor and the fluctuating nature of demand service marketing has to face special problems in product planning, capacity planning and scheduling, and pricing.
Interaction between Service provider and consumer:
The requirement of close interaction between the service provider and the consumer limits the choice for the consumer. Consumers are generally left with fewer of alternatives in services. They also find making the selection from out of the limited alternatives more difficult here compared to a product buying situation.
All the concepts, principles and techniques of marketing apply equally to product and service marketing. Service marketers have to develop and offer services that meet the needs of the customers just as product marketers have to do. Also, service marketers have to score over their competitors just as product marketers have to do. Naturally, all basic principles of marketing should apply equally to product and service marketing.
We insist that service marketing should be practiced as a distinct specialty because immediately after services are rendered they are going to affect Customer or Consumer satisfaction. At the very first instance the consumer may repeat service orders from the same service provider or if not satisfied switchover to some other.