Meaning and Definition of Service Marketing
Service Marketing can be defined by different authors as follows:
According to Philip Kotler___ “A service is an act or performance that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything. Its production may or may not be tied to a physical product”.
According to Zeithaml and Bitner___ “Services are deeds, processes, and performances”.
Service marketing is marketing based on relationship and value. It may be used to market a service or a product also. Marketing a service-based business is different from marketing a goods-based business. Services marketing is a form of marketing approach for them is much different than the approach for products. Some companies offer both products and services and must use a mixer of styles Ex: A store that sells computers also trends to also help people select computers and provide computer repair. Such a store must market both its products. And the supporting services it offers to appeal to customers. When people market services, the goal is not to get customers to buy a product but to get people to do business with a particular company, often in a specific location.
The following key points regarding the concept or perception of service marketing are:
- It is a managerial process of managing the services.
- It is an organized effort for providing a sound foundation for the development of an organization.
- It is a social process helping an organization to understand the emerging social problem and to take part in the social transformation process to justify its existences in the society.
Factors Influencing Services Marketing
- Size and Structure of the Firm: usually several services providers are specialised and work on a small scale such as lawyer, plumbers, accountants, carpenters, etc previously, they served the local community, Moreover, there was no need to employ, marketing experts in these firms as competition was not much operation size was limited and they served only local community.
- Restrictions by Regulatory Bodies: The working of several service providers were limited by the regulatory bodies. At present, restrictions are imposed by the regulatory bodies for curbing the quantity and the kind of advertising; especially in the arena of medical and legal professionals. Rules and regulations also curb the trade activities of the charitable services and the public sectors.
- Expansion of Services Sector: The expansion of the services sector like banking hospitality, tourism, etc., has led to novel ide3as of marketing. Novel technologies and thoughts are provoked with the advancement and achievement of services sectors in several respects. The service sector is designed today as per the needs of the consumers; it is catering to the actual needs of the market and not to the perceived ideas about the same.
- Customer-Employee Interaction: In the marketing of services, if is much important to establish good relationship w3ith the customers. Hence, soft skills and business etiquettes play a significant role in the marketing of the services. A few more related concepts which have come out recently are relationship marketing and internal marketing these ideas are widely accepted in the conventional marketing and are also used beyond marketing of the services.
- Services Quality: The quality of the services and the programmes for rendering quality services also play a crucial in services marketing. The marketing of the services has laid emphasis on improving the quality of the services based on a better understanding of what is considered to be ‘quality services’ by the customers.
- Particular Service Sectors: Recently, a few particular services have attracted the intere3st of marketers, especially the professional services and non-profit organizations. , Moral values and principles are considered vital in these sectors. Even some public sectors also have such obligations. These services sectors have flourished by adopting the market strategies devised by the experts.
Importance of Services Marketing
- Helps in Building Relationships: Services marketing results in building long-term relationships with the target customers. As there is no tangible product with service marketers to offer, they on understanding the needs and demands of the customers and fulfilling them through concerned service offering in the most effective In this way, a trust and loyalty are developed within the customers for the service organization, which results in long-term relationships with them. These relationships help in generating repeat purchases as well as word of mouth promotion.
- Assists in Affecting Customers ‘ Perception: A number of interaction points are designed for the target customers while offering the services. The overall buying process of the customers is influenced by the cumulative effect of these interaction points, people involved in delivering the services, the process, and methodologies used by such people and the surrounding physical evidence. These interaction points help in affecting the perception of the target customers.
- Involves Customers’ Feedbacks: The marketing approach of services is quite different from that of the tangible products, as consumer plays a significant role in the marketing process. Here the consumer’s feedbacks are invited and studied o as to improve the efficiency of the service marketing in this way, a strong relationship is developed with the customers and they become loyal to the service organization.
- Helps in Differentiating the Service Organisation: Service organizations offering similar services/product to the market are efficiently differentiated with the help of service marketing approach. Service marketing helps in highlighting the quality features of the services offered by the organization so as to make the service organization preferred over the competitors. For example, it is the service marketing because of which people differentiate between the Domino’s and Pizza Hut as both deliver same product.
- Offer Higher Customer Retention: In today’s world cut-throat competition, the marketers are to fish out the limited customers. In such a scenario it becomes more important to retain the customers, instead of attracting the new ones. In service marketing, the customers, needs, and feedbacks are analyzed so as to deliver the desired services. Therefore, customers are satisfied by offering the customized services and it results in higher customer retention.