Quiz 2: The Nature of Services
The service provided by the marketers have a great influence in having future business with the customers. The service would be of various types, either the employees of the company directly dealing with the customers or indirectly, by means of internet. What ever be the means of service, the customers have to be satisfied so as to enhance the future business. With the introduction of the e-commerce, the retailing business is expanding to more horizons and internet plays a crucial role in this regard. More and more customers are attracted towards the online purchases making the internet delivery a common scenario. As it is a form of service provided to the customers, there are various factors that characterizes the internet shopping. Although all the characteristics of the services can be considered relevant to the internet delivery the most appropriate ones among those could be Heterogeneity, Intangibility and Customer Participation. No business can happen with out the involvement of the customers and the retailers, in the form of service providers or in physical presence. These characteristics of the internet delivery can be discussed as follows. 1. Customer participation: Unlike in the case of stores that demand the physical presence of the customers, internet delivery does not involve the presence of the customer at the stores even though all the major process of the purchase are be carried out by the customer themselves. Right from the searching of the products from various sites, selecting the brands and deciding the quantity of purchase, billing and cash payment through online transactions, routing the scheduling the delivery date and time, confirming the address and the delivery, and at last giving a feed back of the delivery service. All the major process are carried out by the customers and the retailers only perform the job that the customers have already selected. This whole process would be ineffective if the participation of the customer is not given the fullest. Hence the customer participation forms an important characteristic of internet delivery. 2. Intangibility: The internet delivery cannot be said to have introduced by a specific company or organizations. There are a lot of companies making use of this service in different forms according to their requirement and customer demand. Time has brought a lot of changes in the process but the process remains intangible to the fact that a no person or company owns it or has the right over the service rendered. 3. Heterogeneity: As the customer varies so does the requirement of the product. The varied needs of the customers may be in terms of the time and date of delivery, the packaging should be as that of gift one or normal, additional notes to be added, customized according to the need of the customers. The interest of the customer is considered to be of main concern here and the service provider does the job of delivering the products as per the demands of the various customers. The service providers are bound to follow the instructions of the customers as the positive feed back of the customer would add the number of customers and there by enhancing the business.
Marketers collect and save the information about the customers in their database for various purposes. The information thus collected are made use of during the marketing of new products launched or while performing the service of the product purchased. The data base of the retailers not only have the information regarding the products but also the information about the customers, including their gender, occupation, address and the number of members in the family. These information are made use of while doing service of the products, delivery of the goods by the service person and in strategic analysis of the type of products these customers buy often so as to contact them in future for new product marketing. Although the customers also furnish the information as asked by the marketers, it is an ethical code of conduct of the retailers to safe guard the privacy of the information. People tend to furnish the personal information while doing online purchase, subscription of the journals, giving away donations and other innumerable occasions. These personal information are given with the intention that it may help to enhance the business and have a contact with the customers. All would be fine unless the personal information of the customers are shared to some other with out their concern. The customers reserve the right to share the information only to the firm or people they wish. The companies obtaining these information are lawfully asked to keep those safe and undisclosed. There are cases where the id of the customers are used to make fake ids for criminals for anti-social activities. Many of the terrorist groups steal the personal information of the customers from the data base to know about the account balance and the life style of the people. Making use of these information both money and people are found abducted. Hence the sharing of information becomes an invasion when the information is used against the purpose of it was collected and that too with out the knowledge of the customers.
Services refer to ideas and concepts. Moreover, services are intangible. In Service, work activity is oriented towards people rather than things. Management problems that are associated with allowing service employees to exercise judgement in meeting customer needs are in the following aspects: •Management cannot acquire the desired output as employees performance might vary because they might not have deep analyses with respect to the customer dissatisfaction. •Management might lose opportunity to check the variability of service that has provided. •If they give complete judgment to the service employees, management might face problem in getting the detailed analysis of the customer needs and wants. As, they do not have enhanced knowledge on customer tastes and preferences. •Service is more related to people-oriented, management might face problems with employee attitudes. As, employees in service sector may come across different customers if they cannot deal the customers properly then it automatically leads to customer dissatisfaction. Therefore, Service managers must develop some standards and provide training to the employees in order to ensure consistency in the service provided.