Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Great service in 1,2,3(Ps)

Great service is one of the few things that can really differentiate your company from the competition. We all know the 4Ps of the traditional marketing mix, but to provide great service, we must pay attention to another additional 3Ps that’s part of the service marketing mix: people, process, and physical evidence.

People

Your employees are the people that will deliver your company’s service to the customers. And while process and physical evidence are important, a company’s employees will play the biggest role in determining whether or not your company provides good service, and establishing a positive emotional connection between the customers and your brand or your company.

Customers love it when staffs are polite and welcoming, knowledgeable about the service they are delivering, able to solve their problems, and show genuine care for them. Here are a few things you can do to motivate and help your employees to deliver 5-star service to your customers:

Empower your employees to make decisions. Better decisions will be made as a result of the empowerment of front-line employees, as not every customer has the same needs or problems, and it’s your front-line employees that will best understand the needs of your customers, and therefore suited to make the best decisions for what could be unique situations.     

Align their compensation with what you want them to do. Also, pay your employees well and take care of their needs through relevant benefits and etc; as John W. Marriott once said, “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.”   

Train your employees and help them grow to adapt to a constantly changing environment.

Have a vision that your employees can believe in and be inspired to work toward achieving.

Process

Our processes help our employees deliver our services to the customer. A well-planned out, well-implemented process can significantly increase the efficiency and the quality of your service, which, of course, translates to happier customers.

We need to have a customer-oriented approach when looking at out processes. This approach will really help us identify things we can do to make the customer experience better, as well as things that we can do without as they don’t create value for the customer. By improving our processes with our customers in mind, and by eliminating waste in our processes, we can both better satisfy our customers and cut costs; two very strong drivers of profits.

Zappos, one of the most customer-oriented companies in the world took control of warehousing its products and greatly improved the warehousing part of its process, so that it can deliver its products to customers more quickly and more accurately. This is a great example of how improving your process can translate to a better experience for the customer.   

Physical evidence

Physical evidence is the physical elements that your customers come in contact with when consuming a service. Physical evidence can play a huge part in determining whether or not a customer is happy with your service. A customer will not enjoy his experience with a restaurant if he’s seated at a dirty table, while a customer will feel good about her experience at a chocolate shop where the chocolate is displayed nicely and the shop is beautifully decorated.

I remember staying at a resort for a holiday when I was a kid, and every day when I came back from the beach, I would find a small bar of chocolate under my pillow. This small but very significant physical evidence made me really enjoy my stay at the resort. This just goes to show how physical evidence, even small ones, can go a long way in creating great memorable experiences for your customers.  


I believe that understanding the additional 3Ps of the service marketing mix can really help us in our efforts to provide excellent service. Thank you for reading, and may you always sustain good returns on your portfolio. Take care.