7Ps of Services Marketing
Companies are competing strategically through service quality for greater differentiation in today's competitive marketplace. Successful companies focus on the services-dominant paradigm with investment in people, technology, human resources policies, and compensation linked to service performance of employees. This is important because contact employees’ attitudes and behaviours significantly influence the quality of service. They present the “face and voice” of their organizations to customers.
Extension of the 4Ps - 7Ps Services Marketing Framework by Booms and Bitner The 4Ps marketing mix which represents Product, Process, Pricing and Promotion, have been most widely employed as a model for product marketing. It shows the company preparing an offer mix of the product and price, with an integrated promotion mix to reach the target consumers through the selected distribution channels. The 4Ps of marketing have been the key areas where marketing managers allocate scarce corporate resources to achieve the business objectives. Services have unique characteristics : intangibility, heterogeneity, inseparability and perishability. To discern the differences between services and physical products, Booms and Bitner suggested the extension of the 4Ps framework to include three additional factors : People, Physical evidence and Process as marketing mix variables for services marketing : (i) (ii) (iii) People refer to all people directly or indirectly involved in the consumption of a service, example employees or other consumers, Physical evidence, that related to the environment in which the service is delivered, and the tangibles that help to communicate and perform the service, and Process is the delivery and operating systems of procedures, mechanisms and flow of activities which services are consumed.
The additional 3Ps has gained widespread acceptance in the services marketing literature. The 3Ps together represent the service and provide the evidence that makes services more tangible.
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i) 3Ps of Services Marketing - People
In Booms and Bitner’s 7Ps services marketing framework, people are all people directly or indirectly involved in the service encounter, namely the firm's contact employees, personnel and other customers. Due to the inseparability of production and consumption for services which involves the simultaneous production and consumption of services, service firms depend heavily on the ability of contact employees to deliver the service. Contact employees contribute to service quality by creating a favorable image for the firm, and by providing better service than the competitions. Service providers (such as hair stylists, personal trainers, nurses, counselors and call centre personnel) are involved in real time production of the service. They are the “service”. Much of what makes a service special derives from the fact that it is a lived-through event.
Service firms must find ways in which they can effectively manage the contact employees to ensure that their attitudes and behaviors are conducive to the delivery of service quality. This is especially important in services because employees tend to be variable in their performance, which can lead to variable quality i.e. heterogeneity in the performance of services. The quality of a service (a visit to a hospital for medical check-up, having a meal at the restaurant, accountancy and consulting services) can vary from service providers and customers among many other factors. This lack of homogeneity in services creates difficulties for the service firms. As delivery of services occurs during interaction between contact employees and customers, attitudes and behaviors of the service...