TM4003 Managing Customer Service
Services have a number of distinctive characteristics which differentiate them from goods and implications for the manner in which they are marketed. These characteristics are often described as intangibility, inseparability, perishability, heterogeneity, and lack of ownership. These characteristics are introduced below.
Intangibility means that a pure service can not be assessed using any of the physical senses – it is an abstraction which can not be directly examined before it is purchased (Palmer, 2006).
The second characteristic, inseparability, means that services are produced and consumed at the same time. It is often difficult to separate the provider of the service from the service itself (Clemes, Mollenkopf & Burn, 2000).
The third characteristic is perishability. It means that services differ from goods in that they can not be stored.
The forth defining characteristic of services is heterogeneity. For services, heterogeneity impacts upon customers not just in terms of outcomes but also in terms of process of production. It is the latter point that causes heterogeneity to pose a much greater problem of services, compared to goods (Palmer, 2006).
The last characteristic is lack of ownership. It means that usually, service customers only have access to, or use of, a facility where a service is performed. Payment for the service is for access, and no tangible ownership results from the exchange (Clemes et al., 2000).
Two service characteristics, intangibility and perishability, are discussed below.
Services are ideas and concepts; products are things. Therefore, it follows that service innovations are not patentable. To secure the benefits of a novel service concept, the firm must expand extremely rapidly and preempt any competitors. Franchising has been the vehicle to secure marker areas and establish a brand name. Franchising...