Marketing is an art. It is how you connect with your potential and current customers to attract, initiate and maintain a profitable relationship.
Products and services are marketed. In this article we will look at the different characteristics of a service that makes it different from a product. With this understanding I believe we will be able to market our services better, uniquely and more efficiently.
Characteristics of a service:
1) You cannot separate the product and the production process. The product and the production are inseparable. E.g. In a restaurant the meals portfolio and how the meals are prepared and delivered to the end user form part of the service. In this example the establishment – the brand, decor, furniture, the people and the food all form the “service”. With this understanding it is now clear that banks, insurance companies and printers are all in the service industry.
2) You cannot keep an inventory of the service. What this means is that as opposed to products where we can have three or ten units of a particular product, in service we cannot quantify. Service cannot be inventoried. We cannot have 10 or 3 service stock. In the same spirit a barber cannot say he has 10 heads of stock to be shaved!
3) The level of service variability. This implies that as much as a business tries to keep the level of quality the same or uniform, it is almost impossible to have replicability. This explains why some customers tend to prefer being served by specific service providers in the same business.
How do you make your business service stand out?
a) Training employees:
Building a team of reliable and dependable employees is a productivity and efficiency booster in your business. This helps build quality systems in terms of quality of service. Employees are your partners in your business, they build you or destroy you depending on how you treat them, how you relate with them.
b) Service Flow:
Understand all the processes in your business and making them standardised in delivery process. A teller will take for example 3 minutes to serve a client on average. A client will probably spend a maximum of three hours in a saloon. It will take an average of 4 minutes 30 seconds to print a T-shirt.
c) Business systems:
Being able to measure performance, effectiveness and managing deviations from the set protocols. What does your business set out to achieve? How do you measure your performance? The systems need to be simple and easy to implement. Simple systems means a new employee can easily be inducted and perform above average in a short time.
In the next article I will talk about how to create visibility and stand out as a service provider.