In Marketing a Service Business, Consider Three Additional Ps

The Big Idea:

The traditional go-to-market strategy has commonly included, as its cornerstone, the 4Ps of marketing – product, price, place and promotion.  However, today’s economy is a service economy – an industry of intangibles – where the value of the customer experience can only be measured after the service is delivered. Your employees, how your service is delivered, and its delivery environment can have a profound effect on its success – and all of these components go beyond the 4Ps of marketing.

The three additional Ps of Services Marketing- people, process and the physical environment – need to be integral components of any go-to-market strategy; yet, many companies consider them an afterthought, if they think of them at all.

Why It Matters:

It may seem obvious that people, process and the physical environment are considerations when delivering a service to market but stop and think about your last unhappy service experience. What made you unhappy? Did the service level meet your expectation (or what you paid for)?  How did the employee treat you?  Was the employee knowledgeable and empowered to act? Did the place of service look professional? Were you left wondering how a company could operate with such lack of customer care?

As an intangible deliverable, customers may have a hard time imagining the value a company provides before using the service. Marketing a service-based organization has unique challenges but with a little consideration to the additional 3Ps, providing a positive customer experience will result in great opportunities for growth.

In order to ensure a positive customer experience, consider evaluating the following in your organization:

People

  • Employees are an important aspect of your service delivery: they have a direct or indirect involvement in the consumption of service by customers
    • Frontline staff should be continually trained and empowered to make the customer experience right.
    • High levels of professionalism and responsiveness should be of utmost priority.

Process

  • Consumption of the service is vital to a positive experience
    • Build out a blueprint or a map of all the key interactions for consistency and potential fail points with remedies for optimal success.
    • Build in benchmarks and measurements associated with customer satisfaction for employees to achieve, and reward them when they do.

Physical Environment (Servicescape)

  • The visible cues to your business – your office, building, service vehicles, furnishings, etc. – play an important role in the experience
    • The design of the servicescape can have an impact on the perception a customer has of the professionalism and level of quality the company provides.
    • Ensure your physical environment reflects the image you want to portray: a little does go a long way.

What’s Next:

As many companies continue to deliver customer self-serve technologies to reduce operational costs, it is imperative for organizations to map out the customer experience to ensure the impersonal still feels personal and meets the expectations of a physical interaction with a business.  The engagement – whether offline or online – must include the three Ps of service marketing where the process is simple, esthetically engaging and most importantly, responsive when customers need assistance.


Source:  Essentials of Services Marketing by Wirtz & Lovelock
About the author: Nancy Mancini is President & Principal Consultant at Marcom Blueprints Inc.

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