Definition of Services: Characteristics of Services

Meaning and Definition of Services

Services are provided by the seller to the buyer in exchange for money but it does not provide the owner of the service provided to the buyer, only values are exchanged. As per the marketing experts, the term service’ is not limited to personal service. The scope of the service is much more than that. Variety of definition of service is given by different experts but no single universal definition is available.

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, process, and performances”.

According to Christopher Lovelock___” Services are economic activities offered by one party to another, most commonly employing time-based performances to bring about the desired result in recipients themselves or in objects or other assets for which purchasers have a responsibility”.

Characteristics of Service

The terms ‘product’ ‘goods’ and service are often interchanged by individuals due to confusion. Products are anything that is being offered by the manufacturer to fulfill the need of the customers /buyers. Products include anything which is offered to the buyer like goods, services, place, experience, persons, properties, etc.

Unique Characteristics/ Key characteristics of Services

  • Intangibility: The first unique characteristics of services is their intangibility. It is not possible to touch, see taste, smell, hear or even fell services before they are actually bought. For example, a person may not experience the joy of living in a five-star hotel, unless and until he stays there.

The service organizations can thus provide a positive image of their service by providing tangible items along with the service, with the main objective of helping the prospective customer to build expectations before the actual purchase. Physical items and evidence help the customers to evaluate the service provided to them.

  • Inseparability: It is the next distinctive characteristic of services which is also referred to as ‘immediacy’ by some professionals. Inseparability with reference to services is of two types;

i. The inseparability of production of services with its consumption and

ii. The inseparability of the services from the individual who owns the ability and executes the services.

Production and consumption of services is a simultaneous process because services are produced only in the presence of consumer. This characteristic is not exhibited by physical goods as they do not require consumers for their production. They are produced, stored and distributed through different channels.

  • Variability / Heterogeneity: Service also enjoys the characteristic of heterogeneity or variability. Each service is exclusive and one-time generated, offered and consumed. It can ever be exactly done in the same manner as the earlier one. This is because of the reason that the conditions, locations, point in time, and allocated resources, etc., vary for the upcoming delivery, although the customers desire the same service which he has availed earlier. Numerous services are considered as heterogeneous. They lack consistency. The heterogeneous service are usually changed according to every consumer and the respective condition. The reason for this is as follows:

i. The services cannot be separated from the provider, so it leads to unevenness. This unevenness automatically arrives in the work and depends on the person who is executing the service.

ii. Service greatly involve people, had anything which involves people is certainly variable. The type of people who provides the service often decides the categorization of the service like skilled service, unskilled services, and complete specialized service. But in the contract who is producing does not matter in case of physical products.

iii.  Service is affected by the time and the place where the service is being provided, and this effect also varies with the time and place dimension.

  • Perishability: Service is perishable and they cannot be preserved. For example, some hotels and guest houses charge their customers for missed bookings because the service value occurred only at that point in In case, the demand for the service is stable, perishability does not pose any problem to it, in contrast to the situation when demand varies. For example. Marriage lawns and banquet halls own much more equipment and facilities during the wedding season than rest of the year.

Importance of Services

  • Upward Trend in the Disposable Income: Since last ten years, the Indian customers are exhibiting an upward trend in the disposable income. The transformation of the economy is resulted due to development of corporate sectors. If there are many job opportunities for individuals, it will offer higher chances of earning to masses and as the earning will increase, it will result in more consumption. Thus, increased disposable income is resulted due to the positive developments in the development sectors. There is a prompt increase in the demand when someone has an increment in his income irrespective of the inflation.
  • Increasing Specialisation: The current era is of specialization where perfection receives the appropriate focus. The increased specialization results in higher sophistication in the process of economic transformation. There is an increased level of technological advertisement in the industrial economies and it is obviously resulted due to the higher need for specialization.
  • Improved Literacy Rate: The literacy rate, especially in the backward areas of India, is improving significantly due to education mission adopted by the government of This makes the consumers more aware, knowledgeable and sensitive about the services which they are consuming.
  • Professionalism in Education: All the organizations whether they produce products or offer the service will give the highest priorities to the development of human resources. However, performance-orientation will be the root of all the corporate activities and this is not accomplished without having an employee orientation in the organization. Most of the population will peruse the professional education due to the increased i9mportance to professional excellence.
  • Information Explosion: Lot of attempts are made towards creating an information super-highway by the developed countries. The information explosion results in a lot of innovations and inventions in the area of communications. This is the main reason behind the conversion of the globe into a global village. The new definitions of developments are written in every dimension of the business after the development of satellite Almost all the sectors of the economy are influenced by this communication explosion.
  • Sophistication in Market: The sophistication in the markets is created by the development of various communication services where the expectations of the customers are relatively high. There will be a drastic change in the food habits, dresses, and hairstyles, drinks, styles of homes and apartments, living conditions, etc, the nature of the market pertaining to the products and services which are demanded by the customers will face a drastic change.