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Characteristics of a Service

What exactly are the characteristics of a service? How are services different from a product? In fact many organisations do have service elements to the product they sell, for example McDonald’s sell physical products i.e. burgers but consumers are also concerned about the quality and speed of service, are staff cheerful and welcoming and do they serve with a smile on their face?

There are five characteristics to a service which will be discussed below.

1. Lack of ownership.

You cannot own and store a service like you can a product. Services are used or hired for a period of time. For example when buying a ticket to the USA the service lasts maybe 9 hours each way , but consumers want and expect excellent service for that time. Because you can measure the duration of the service consumers become more demanding of it.

2. Intangibility

You cannot hold or touch a service unlike a product. In saying that although services are intangible the experience consumers obtain from the service has an impact on how they will perceive it. What do consumers perceive from customer service? the location, and the inner presentation of where they are purchasing the service?.

3. Inseparability

Services cannot be separated from the service providers. A product when produced can be taken away from the producer. However a service is produced at or near the point of purchase. Take visiting a restaurant, you order your meal, the waiting and delivery of the meal, the service provided by the waiter/ress is all apart of the service production process and is inseparable, the staff in a restaurant are as apart of the process as well as the quality of food provided.

4. Perishibility

Services last a specific time and cannot be stored like a product for later use. If travelling by train, coach or air the service will only last the duration of the journey. The service is developed and used almost simultaneously. Again because of this time constraint consumers demand more.

5. Heterogeneity

It is very difficult to make each service experience identical. If travelling by plane the service quality may differ from the first time you travelled by that airline to the second, because the airhostess is more or less experienced.
A concert performed by a group on two nights may differ in slight ways because it is very difficult to standardise every dance move. Generally systems and procedures are put into place to make sure the service provided is consistent all the time, training in service organisations is essential for this, however in saying this there will always be subtle differences.



 

Characteristics of a Service

Service Marketing



 

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