Question 1: Define and discuss using relevant example from the case, the special characteristics of services that distinguish them from tangible products.
Services are one type of products with several special characteristics which are really different with tangible products. The major special features of services are more intangibility, heterogeneity, inseparability, and perishability. Those characteristics are also reflected in John’s case.
Compare with the tangible products’ tangibility, the main characteristic of services is intangibility which was shown through a set of actions. Intangibility characteristic of service describes that services cannot be seen, felt, tasted, or touched thus one cannot display or store the service. However, it is usually felt by tangible goods or physical evidence. Moreover, service cannot be inventoried, easily patented, and easily displayed or communicated.
From John’s case, John gives his customers guide of fishing and a series of fishing itinerary. These all are the intangible things to anglers. It cannot be touched, felt, or seen by his customers. However, his customers enjoyed their tours and gain fishes after his guiding. Thus, this can be said that customers got John’s services. Compared with his services business, John used to be selling the tangible goods, either the rods, artificial flies or oilskins the department sold are tangible.
Moreover, because of the intangibility, pricing John’s services is difficult. Compared with physical goods, pricing services are not easy. Same tangible goods also sold with a same price. In this case, the two couples got different price after serviced. It seems that they gained a same series of services, but the feelings and appraisals are different. 1.2 Heterogeneity
Heterogeneity concerns the potential for high variability in the performance of services (Bitner et al., 2009). Contrast to service, tangible goods is standardization. Most of a type of physical goods is produced by one product line. There are no major differences among each one of them. However, like two leaves, there are not two same services processes. Providers’ performances are not same every time, and the customers’ requirements are not same too.
In detail, service delivery and customer satisfaction depend on employee and customer action, and also some uncontrollable factors. In our case, when John worked in the fishing department, he wondered at how each piece of fishing equipment in a product line varied so little. It shows that tangible products are standardization. However, then, John provided services to two couples, and got the distinct result. First couple was very satisfaction, and second couple was unhappy, though John was same hard working. The different based knowledge, objectives and nature conditions determines the different results. The first couple have a good knowledge and experience of fishing, they enjoy in fishing. However, the second couple was the fist time fishing and their purpose was to relax and see the country. Moreover, the weather was great during the first time, but worst during the second time. Those factitious and uncontrollable elements influenced John’s two services processes.
Inseparability of production and consumption involves the simultaneous production and consumption which characterizes most services. Compare with goods are first produced, then purchased, and then consumed, services are first booked, then produced and consumed simultaneously (Carmen & Langeard, 1980). It seems like that customers and employees affect each other.
In this case, we can know that because of the high degree of adaptability of the first couple, John interact well with them. However, another two anglers gained the unsatisfied service because of their bad communication. All customers and employees even the partial customers play an important role in whole...