Traditional marketing centres on controlling the elements used to satisfy or communicate with customers: Product, Place, Promotion, and Price. This model of marketing—known as the Marketing Mix or 4 Ps—was fine until the upsurge in the service-based economy started. It was then found wanting as it didn’t cover the intangibles of delivering services to customers.
To complement and enhance the Marketing Mix model, service marketers have adopted an expanded version that includes three more essential elements:
- People – the human actors playing a part in service delivery who could in turn significantly influence buyer behaviour. This takes into consideration both sides of the transaction. Employees deliver the service, so they should be skilled, trained, motivated, rewarded, and work as a team. Customers receive the service, so they should be educated on how best to receive it and trained to smooth the transactional pathway.
- Physical Evidence – the environment in which the service is delivered and where the customer and organisation interact—the touch points, if you like. Consider facility design and appearance. Does the equipment on show reflect the organisation’s vision and goals? Does the staff’s dress code, for that matter? Even something as mundane as signage can significantly improve service delivery.
- Process – the procedures, mechanisms, and flow of activities by which the service is delivered. Care should be taken to ensure people can do what the organisation wants them to do. Are the bits needed to deliver the service in the right location, easy to access, and easy to use? Is the number of required steps the minimum needed to delight customers? And do customers understand the part they play in all this?
Take the following example of service delivery that went badly yet should have gone so well. At our local supermarket, they installed a number self-service tills. On day one, there was no one showing customers how to use them, so the People element failed. And as it wasn’t obvious how to use the tills, the equipment failed on Physical Evidence. Finally, the steps to complete the transaction were unclear, so the tills likewise failed on Process.
Yet after using them a number of times, it’s clear they’re a significant enhancement to transactional retail exchanges. They’re quick, accurate, and easy to use, thus simplifying the overall shopping experience, especially if you only want to buy a few items.
Have you considered your organisation’s service delivery in light of these three additional elements of the Marketing Mix? If so, you’ll be surprised how even small changes can yield huge improvements in customer satisfaction ratings. If not, you might find these ratings don’t reflect just how highly you really do think of your customers.
For more information, I recommend you read Services Marketing by clicking this link.
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