Conceptualization of the Service Concept:
Conceptualization of the services product was described by Donald Cowell in four steps. They are:
1) Customer Benefit Concept: The customer is the starting point in manufacturing or developing goods or services. The Customer purchases the services because-it offers him certain benefits. In buying the customers are not buying the goods or services but instead they are buying certain benefits and values. It must be noted that when a customer’s buys medicine he buys hope, when he goes on a tour he, buys pleasure not tour and so on. It becomes necessary for the service provider to spell the customers-benefits concept first. The customers look for the benefits rather than the product’s features.
2) Service Concept: The service concept takes the customer-benefit concept and translates them in order determine the aim and intention of the organization. The service concept is based on the idea that the actual services offered could be divided into a number of levels that may relate to the’ customer’s need, his satisfaction and benefits. Hence, while planning the market offer, the service provider should make an analysis of various levels of product. These are:
3) Core service benefit level : This level consist of the basic service product i.e. the benefit the customer is really buying. The core products are essentially those products that define what kind of business they are in. For an example, the hotel industry or in the hospital business, the core products are indispensable to any business. The core service level provides the platform for the development of other peripheral levels.
4) The expected service level: This level reflects the standard required or expected by the customer to satisfy their needs and wants. It is the minimum set of expectations a customer has about a product or service which the marketer must strive to satisfy. If the service offer fails at this level it will mean immediate dissatisfaction. It is the minimum set of expectation that a customer has about the product or services which the marketer must strive to satisfy. If the service offer fails at this level if will means immediate dissatisfaction.
5) The augmented level: It includes the fundamental services and benefits that distinguish the company’s offer from the competitor’s offer. This product is basically a formal product with some ancillary benefits or extra features attached to it. These value additions are made in order to make the service more attractive to customers. The service provider should make continuous efforts to search for further features and benefits in order to add to their offer According to Helen Woodruff, “augmented services is the way in lavish the service provider fine tunes the marketing mix to differentiate their services and naked it stand out from the competitors,”
6) Potential level: The potential product focuses on the future. When a product exceeds the augmented level it comes as a pleasant surprise to their customer and he is delighted leading to his loyalty towards the product. For an example, the customer will be delighted to receive a special discount on his next visit, if his bill exceeds a particular amount.
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