The marketing concept dictates that marketing decisions should be based upon customer needs and wants. Buyers purchase goods and services to satisfy their needs and wants. Thus when a buyer engages in a market transaction he perceives a bundle of benefits and satisfactions to be derived from that transaction. However he does not usually divide the market offering into its component parts.
From the sellers’ view point however the market offering can be divided into its component parts. The marketing mix is the convenient means of organizing all the variables controlled by the marketer that influence transactions in the marketplace. It is a ‘checklist approach’ where marketer’s attempt to list and organize the variables under their control which may be important in influencing transactions in the market place.
The service product requires consideration of the range of services provided, the quality of services provided and the level of services provided. Attention will also need to be given to matters like the use of branding, warranties and after-sale service. The service product mix of such elements can vary considerably and may be seen in comparisons of service range between a small local building society and one of the largest in the country; or between a small hotel offering a limited menu range and a four star hotel offering a wide range of meals.
Price considerations include levels of prices, discounts allowances and commissions, terms of payment and credit. Price may also pay a part in differentiating one service from another and therefore the customers perceptions of value obtained from a service and the interaction of price and quality are important considerations in many service price sub mixes.
The location of the service providers and their accessibility are important factors in services marketing. Accessibility relates not just to physical accessibility but to other means of communication and contact. Thus the types of distribution channels used (e.g. travel agents) and their coverage is linked to the crucial issue of service accessibility.
Promotion includes the various methods of communicating with markets whether through advertising, personal selling activities, sales promotion activities and other direct forms of publicity, and indirect forms of communication like public relations.
All human actors who play a part in service delivery and thus influence the buyer’s perceptions: namely, the firm’s personnel, the customer, and other customers in the service environment. All of the human actors participating in the delivery of a service provide cues to the customer regarding the nature of the service itself. How these people are dressed, their personal appearance their attitudes and behaviors all influence the costumers perceptions of the service.
The service provider or contact person can be very important. In fact, for some services, such as consulting, counselling, teaching, and other professional relationship – based services, the provider is the services. In other cases the contact person may play what appears to be a relatively small part in service delivery, for instance, a telephone installer, an airline baggage handler, or an equipment delivery dispatcher. Yet research suggests that even these providers may be the focal point of service encounters that can prove critical for the organization.
6. Physical Evidence:
The environment in which the service is delivered and where the firm and customer interact, and any tangible components that facilitate performance or communication of the service. The physical evidence of service includes all of the tangible representations of the services – such as brochures, letterhead, business cards, report formats, signage, and equipment. In some cases it includes the physical facility where the service is offered, for example, the retail bank branch facility.
In other cases, such as telecommunication services, the physical facility maybe irrelevant..In this case other tangibles such as billing statements and appearance of the repair truck may be important indicators of quality. Especially when consumers have little on which to judge the actual quality of service they will rely on these cues just as they rely on the cues provided by the people and the service process. Physical evidence cues provide excellent opportunities for the firm to send consistent and strong messages regarding the organization’s purpose, the intended market segments, and the nature of the service