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Marketing of Services

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Introduction

Marketing of Services 1. Marketing & Services To comprehensively review and apply a service blueprint, it is necessary to define what is known as a service, what services marketing is, what the services marketing mix is and therefore, what marketing is and what the marketing mix is. 1.1 What is a service? A service can be simply defined as, "...any activity or benefit that one party can offer to another which is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything," Kotler et al (1996:935). However, a more detailed definition of a service can be found. A service is, "...an essentially intangible benefit, either in its own right or as a significant element of a tangible product, which through some form of exchange, satisfies an identified need," Palmer (1998:2). Services, "...include all economic activities whose output is not a physical product or construction, is generally consumed at the time it is produced, and provides added value in forms (such as convenience, amusement, timeliness, comfort, or health) that are essentially tangible concerns of its first purchaser," Quinn et al (1987:50). Basically, services are actions, procedures and feats carried out by the company on the behalf of the customer that provide the customer with an intangible benefit in exchange for money. 1.2 Marketing & the Marketing Mix The official definition of marketing is as follows: "Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing promotion, and distribution ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individuals and organisational objectives," American Marketing Association as cited by Peterson (1987:4). Initially developed by Professor Neil Borden in 1965, the marketing mix is a set of tools utilised by companies to improve its offer to the customer. ...read more.

Middle

The line of interaction relates directly to the interactions between the customer and the employee/company. The line of visibility is the dividing line between what the customer can see and what they can't see when the service is being delivered (Zeithaml & Bitner, 2000:207). The customer is typically involved in those activities of which they are aware and not involved in those activities of which they are unaware (Palmer, 1998:64). The line of internal interaction splits the activities of the employees and the support activities (Zeithaml & Bitner, 2000:207). At the top of every service blueprint, physical evidence of the service is noted (Zeithaml & Bitner, 2000:209). 2.3 How to Build a Service Blueprint To build a service blueprint Zeithaml & Bitner (2000:212-3) suggest following these six steps: � Identify the Service Process to be Blueprinted Decide what service it is you intend to blueprint, on what level and in how much detail. � Identify the Customer or Customer Segment Experiencing the Service Decide whether you intend the blueprint to focus on a particular customer or a particular group of customers. � Map the Service Process from the Customer's Point of View This involves illustrating the choices and actions of the customer as they buy, use and assess the service. � Map Contact Employee Actions, Both Onstage & Backstage This involves drawing the lines of interaction and visibility then identifying the interactions between the customer and employee and all the visible and invisible employee actions. � Link Customer & Contact Person Activities to Needed Support Functions This involves drawing the line of internal interaction and linking the employee actions to the support processes. � Add Evidence of Service at Each Customer Action Step This involves showing evidence of the service that the customer sees and receives at each point of the service experience. ...read more.

Conclusion

As mentioned, presently the system's only advantage is that it allows the kitchen staff to cope with demand for 'specials'. The new improved system has a link to the heated holding tray or to an electronic board near the heated holding tray if the first option is not technologically possible or if it would be considered as hazardous. Every time someone from the counter staff took a food item or food items from the heated holding tray they would press the appropriate button on the heated holding tray or electronic board as many times as necessary. For example, if a member of the counter staff took two cheeseburgers and one chickenburger they would press the cheeseburger button twice and the chickenburger button once. The buttons could even be colour coordinated so that they matched the packaging of the food items. This would increase the ease with which, counter staff could use the system particularly, when it is busy. For example, the cheeseburger button could be yellow to match the packaging, the hamburger button could be red to match the packaging and the veggie whopper button could be green to match the packaging. Once a member of the counter staff has pressed the appropriate button(s) the necessary amount of times, the system is linked through to the kitchen computer and shows on the screen how many of what food items are in the heated holding tray thus, allowing the kitchen staff to see what they need to work towards replacing. This addition to the kitchen computer system reduces the amount of time the customers are waiting for their fast food. It reduces the wildness of the working environment and thus, employee stress, which in turn improves the behaviour of counter staff towards customers. Overall, it increases the efficiency and effectiveness of the whole service delivery. ...read more.

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