UNIT – 1 In simple words, services are deeds, processes, and performances. SERVICES is defined as “activities, benefits, or satisfactions which are offered for sale, or provided in connection with the sale of goods”. The other definition which was proposed in 1963 by Regan suggested that “services represent either intangible yielding satisfactions directly (transportation, housing etc.), or intangibles yielding satisfactions jointly when purchased either with commodities or other services (credit, delivery, etc.)”. For the first time services were considered as pure intangibles - capable of providing satisfaction to the customer and can be marketed like tangible products. Robert Judd defined service as “a market transaction by an enterprise or entrepreneur where the object of the market transaction is other than the transfer of ownership of a tangible commodity”. In 1973 Bessom proposed that “for the consumer, services are activities offered for sale that provide valuable benefits or satisfactions; activities that he cannot perform for himself or that he chooses not to perform for himself”.Another definition given by Blois in 1974 says that, “a service is an activity offered for sale which yields benefits and satisfactions without leading to a physical change in the form of a good”. Stanton proposed a definition in 1974 and defined service as “Separately identifiable, intangible activities which provide want satisfaction when marketed to consumers and/or industrial users and which are not necessarily tied to the sale of a product or another service”. We may conclude service as, “an activity or series of activities rather than things which has some element of intangibility associated with it, which involves some interaction between the customer and the service provider, and does not result in a transfer of ownership. Customer has a vital role to play in the production process as the services are provided in response to the problems of customers as solution. The production of the service may or may not be closely associated with a physical product”. 1.2 NATURE OF SERVICES : It is utmost important to explore the distinctive features of services, because recognition of these special characteristics will provide insights for enlightened and innovative management. One reason for the poor quality of service levels across different service industries is that managers often tend to solve service marketing problems with tools and techniques that are essentially meant for tangible products. It happens because of inadequate understanding about the nature of services. As our knowledge of the characteristics of services grows, so does our ability to deal with them from both an economic and marketing perspective. Services have a number of unique characteristics that make them different from products. Some of most commonly accepted characteristics are as follows: Service: an activity or series of activities rather than things which has some element of intangibility associated with it, which involves some interaction between the customer and the service provider, and does not result in a transfer of ownership. Intangibility: As services are performances or actions rather than objects, they cannot be seen, felt, tasted, or touched in the same manner that we can sense tangible goods.
Inseparability: A service cannot be separated from the person or firm providing it. Heterogeneity: Since most of the services are being rendered by human beings, their performances can not be mechanized and as a result no two performances of even a single service provider are identical. Perishability: Services if not consumed simply perish away. (i) Intangibility: The most basic and universally cited characteristic of services is intangibility, because services are performances or actions rather than objects, they cannot be seen, felt, tasted, or touched in the same manner that we can sense tangible goods. For example, when we buy a cake of soap, we can see, feel, smell and use to check its effectiveness in cleaning. But, when we pay fees for a semester in the university, we are paying for the benefits of deriving knowledge, skills and education which is delivered to us by teachers. Teaching is an intangible service. When we travel by a plane, the benefit which we are deriving is a service (transportation) but, it has some tangible aspects such as the particular plane in which we fly (Boeing, Avro, Concorde, etc.) and the food and drink which are served. The broad definition of services implies that intangibility is a key determinant of whether an offering is or is not a service. While this is true, it is also true that very few products are purely tangible or purely intangible. Instead, services tend to be more intangible than manufactured products, and manufactured products tend to be more tangible than services. The tangibility spectrum shown in Table 1.1 captures this idea. Intangibility presents several marketing challenges. Services cannot be inventoried, and therefore fluctuations in demand are often difficult to manage. It cannot be patented legally, and new service concepts can, therefore, easily be copied by competitors. It cannot be readily displayed or easily communicated to customers, so quality may be difficult for consumers to assess. The actual costs of a „unit of service‟ are hard to determine and the price/quality relationship is complex. (ii) Inseparability: In most cases a service cannot be separated from the person or firm providing it. A service is provided by a person who possesses a particular skill (singer, doctor, etc.), by using equipment to handle a tangible product (dry cleaning) or by allowing access to or use of a physical infrastructure (hotel, train, etc.). Services are typically produced and consumed at the same time. The relationship between production and consumption, therefore, dictates that production and marketing are highly integrated processes. The telephone company produces telephone service while the telephone user consumes it. A plumber has to be physically present to provide the service, the beautician has to be available to perform the massage. The service provider and the client are often physically present when consumption takes place. Generally, most goods are produced first, then sold and consumed. On the other hand, services are usually sold first and produced and consumed simultaneously Apart from the stress laid on „right place‟ and „right time‟ in case of distributing goods, there is additional importance given to the performance of service in the „right way‟ as well. Another outcome of simultaneous production and consumption is that service producers find themselves playing a role as part of the product itself and as an essential ingredient in the service experience for the consumer. (iii) Heterogeneity: Since services are performances, frequently produced by human beings, no two services will be precisely alike. The human element is very much involved in providing and rendering services and this makes standardization a very difficult task to achieve. The doctor who gives us complete attention in one visit may behave a little differently in next visit. The new bank clerk who encashes our cheques may not be as efficient as the previous one and we may have to spend more time for the same activity. This is despite the fact that rules and procedures have been laid down to reduce the role of the human element and ensure maximum efficiency. Airlines, banks, hotels, etc. have a large number of standardized procedures. Human contact is minimal in the computerised reservation systems, but when we go to the hotel there will be a person at the reception to hand over the key of the reserved room. The way
that person interacts with us will be an important factor in our overall assessment of the service provided by the hotel. The rooms, the food, the facilities may be all perfect, but it is the people interacting with us who make all the difference between a favourable and unfavourable perception of the hotel. Heterogeneity also results because no two customers are precisely alike; each will have unique demands or experience the service in a unique way. Thus, the heterogeneity connected with services is largely the result of human interaction (between and among employees and customers) and all of the vagaries that accompany it. (iv) Perishability: Perishability refers to the fact that services cannot be saved, stored, resold, or returned. Since services are deeds, performances or acts whose production and consumption takes place simultaneously, they tend to perish in the absence of consumption. Goods can be stored and sold at a later date in the absence of a customer. Services, on the other hand, go waste if they are not consumed. A seat on an airplane or in a restaurant, an hour of a professor‟s time, or telephone line capacity not used cannot be reclaimed and used or resold at a later time. A primary issue that marketers face in relation to service perishability is the inability to hold inventory. Demand forecasting and creative planning for capacity utilisation are, therefore, important and challenging decision areas. The fact that services cannot typically be returned or resold also implies a need for strong recovery strategies when things do go wrong. Kurtz and Boone observed that the utility of most services is short lived; therefore, they cannot be produced ahead of time and stored for periods of peak demand. The perishability of services is not a problem when demand is steady because it is easy to staff for the service in advance.. (v) No Transfer of Ownership: When we buy a product, we become its owner-be it a pen, book, shirt, TV or Car. In the case of a service, we may pay for its use, but we never own it. By buying a ticket one can see the evening film show in local cinema theatre; by paying wages one can hire the services of a chauffeur who will drive his car; by paying the required charges we can have a marketing research firm survey into the reasons for our product‟s poor sales performance, etc. In case of a service, the payment is not for purchase, but only for the use or access to or for hire of items or facilities; and transfer of ownership does not take place. 1.4 REASONS FOR GROWTH OF SERVICES Manufacturing industries grew because they produced tangible goods which satisfied man‟s physiological needs of food, shelter and clothing. As the basic need was fulfilled there was demand for improved satisfaction, and this led to a proliferation of variations of the same product and a number of companies involved in its manufacture. The growth of service industries can be traced to the economic development of society and the socio-cultural changes that have accompanied it. Changing environmental forces brought out the various types of services in forefront of the economy. These environmental forces separately or in combination create new type of service. The following environmental fac-tors are responsible to make a new service. (i) Consumer affluence: Due to the fast rise in the income of consumers, they are attracted towards the new areas like clubs, health clubs, domestic services, travel and tourism, entertainment, banking, investment, retailing, insurance, repairs, etc. and these are growing much faster than ever before. There is a significant change in the pattern of family expenditure. (ii)Working women: During the recent times a large number of women have come up in a variety of professions. The work performance of women in most of services sector like bank, insurance, airlines, etc. is highly appreciable. In short, women are getting involved in almost all male dominated activities. Due to increasing involvement of women in commercial activities, the services like domestic activities, fast food restaurants, marriage counselling, personal care, financial services, retailing, etc. have emerged in the recent times. (iii) Double income no kids (DINK): Dinks are the working couples who have consciously postponed parenthood plans indefinitely or in an increasing number of cases, have decided not to have any children ever. The dink culture is getting stronger and spreading wider day by day. The realisation that parenthood
is likely to result in more commitments at home and demands on their time, thereby slowing down their career plans and ambitions, make them postpone their parenthood plans. Whatsoever be their life style, they have double income and no kids, resulting in the emerging and enhancing of services like, entertainment, hotels and restaurants, career institutes, domestic services, travel resorts, personal care, etc. (iv)Leisure time: People do get some time to travel and holiday, and therefore, there is a need for travel agencies, resorts, hotels and entertainment. There are others who would like to utilise this time to improve their career prospects, and therefore, there is a need for adult education, distance learning, part time courses, etc. (v)Greater life expectancy: According to the World Development Report and World Human Resource Index, the life expectancy of people has increased significantly all over the world barring few developing countries. It may be due to the advancement in the medical technology, and greater awareness about health and education. Greater life expectancy invites opportunities in services like hospitals, Nursing Homes, entertainment, leisure services, investment banking and so on. (vi) Product innovations: In the changing time the consumers have become more conscious of quality than cost. They need high quality goods at par with international standards. Having this in mind the manufacturers have focused their attention on quality improvement, innovations, etc. In this process many more services have emerged on account of product innovation. Some of them are servicing services, repairs, computer, training and development, education, etc. (vii Product complexity: A large number of products are now being purchased in households which can be serviced only by specialised persons e.g. water purifiers, microwave oven, computers, etc., giving rise to the need for services. The growing product complexities create greater demand for skilled specialists to provide maintenance for these complex products and brings out other services like expert advise, consultancy services, etc. (viii) Complexity of life: Certain product and services have made human life more comfortable and complex as well. Also, life itself has become more complex due to the socio-economic, psycho-political, technological and legal change. This has brought about the emergence of services like legal aid, tax consulting, professional services, airlines, courier services, insurance, banking, etc. (ix) New young youth: Every new generation has its own characteristics and enjoys a different life style. There is a lot of difference between the generations in respect to their living conditions/ styles, maturity, thinking, attitudes, behaviour, beliefs, satisfactions, performance values and so on. Today‟s generation with all these changes provide more opportunities to services like entertainment, fast food, computers, travel, picnic resorts, educational institution, counselling, retailing, etc. (x) Resource scarcity and ecology: As the natural resources are depleting and need for conservation is increasing, we have seen the coming up of service providers like pollution control agencies, car pools, water management, etc. (xi) Corporate crowd: The phenomena of globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation coupled with faster urbanization have created the corporate world crowd and its support services. This crowd is responsible in bringing the new services, and redefining the old ones. The services like hotels and restaurants, banking, insurance, travel and tourism, advertising, airlines, courier services, marketing research, health care, legal services, etc. will emerge and flourish more and more. ROLE OF SERVICES IN ECONOMY There is a growing market for services and increasing dominance of services in economies worldwide. Services are a dominant force in countries around the world as can be seen in the global feature. The tremendous growth and economic contributions of the service sector have drawn increasing attention to the issues and problems of service sector industries. There was a time when it was believed that the industrial revolution was the only solution to the problems of poverty, unemployment and other ills of societys. Now, however, the service sector promises to fulfil the task. Services touch the lives of every person every day whether it is in the field of food services, communication, leisure ser-vices, maintenance services, travel, amusement parks, to name only a few. Services are increasingly being used by the corporate as well as the household sector. This emphasis on services and its increasing use has not happened overnight - it started in the twentieth century especially after the end of