A service business is one where the perceived value of the offering to the buyer is determined more by the service rendered than the product offered. ... Such businesses include those that provide an amost entirely intangible offering, such as legal services, healthcare, and cleaning services and businesses that offer both services and products such as restaurants and retail outlets.
Service reliability - performing the service dependably and accurately - is the heart of services marketing excellence. When a company performs a service carelessly, when it makes avoidable mistakes, when it fails to deliver on alluring promises made to attract customers, it shakes the customers' confidence in its capabilities and undermines its chances of earning a reputation for service excellence.
The purchase, the production and the consumption of a service generally take place at the same time. A diner is in the restaurant before he orders, when the steak is cooked, and when he digs in. The relationship between the customer and the service provider--the waiter and the diner--is very important. The customer is a factor in the nature of a service. The marketer needs to make clear what’s expected of him in the purchase-consumption process.
Traditionally, marketers have used a product marketing approach to services, focusing on a careful balance of the well-known Four P's of the Marketing Mix: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. The right mix of these is still critical. However, because of the nature of services, the additional P's of "People," "Process," and "Physical Evidence" take on a greater importance. The intangible nature of services requires a special approach at the strategic stage of service offer development.
...heterogeneity is constant in services marketing. Quality of service depends on many parameters such as customer demands, expectations and fulfillment. As each customer has different demands and expectations, Quality in his perception may be completely different.
Perishability: Services cannot be stored, saved, returned or resold once they have been used. Once rendered to a customer the service is completely consumed and cannot be delivered to another customer. eg: A customer dissatisfied with the services of a barber cannot return the service of the haircut that was rendered to him. At the most he may decide not to visit that particular barber in the future.
The production of the services can't be separated from its consumption. For example, the production and consumption of a medical exam happen together, as do many consulting services and IT maintenance contracts.
The dominant approach to viewing the delivery of service quality in a structured and integrated
way is called the gaps model of service quality services marketing strategy. The gaps model positions the key concepts, strategies, and decisions in delivering quality service in a manner that begins with the customer and builds the organization’s tasks around what is needed to close the gap between customer expectations and perceptions.
Active listening consists of a continuous, systematic collection of information from both providers and recipients of organization services. The objective of conducting active listening processes is to keep decision makers constantly aware of the experiences of those involved in the delivery of services, as well as the expectations and perceptions of individuals receiving those services.
Services sector is the primary economic sector of USA. It contributes nearly 67.8% towards the GDP of the country. Information, retail, scientific, technical and professional services form the major parts of this sector. Out of all the services, wholesale and retail trade comes up as the leading business areas.