Managing People as Part of the Service Product - Principles of service marketing management

The more involved customers become in the service delivery process, the more visible service personnel and other customers become (this is the people element of the 8Ps). In many people-processing services, customers meet lots of employees and often interact with them for extended periods of time. They are also more likely to run into other customers.

After all, many service facilities achieve their operating economies by serving large numbers of customers simultaneously. When other people become a part of the service experience, they can enhance it or detract from it. Direct involvement in service production means that customers evaluate the quality of employees' appearance and social skills, as well as their technical skills—concerns that are important for human resource managers and front-line supervisors. And because people also make judgments about their fellow customers, managers find themselves trying to shape customer behavior, too.

Service businesses of this type tend to be harder to manage because of the human element. Susan enjoyed the comments made by other students in her marketing class. But at the food court, lazy customers had failed to clear their table. Even though they had already left, their behavior still detracted in a small way from the experience of Susan and her friends.

The poor attitude and appearance of the employee at the dry cleaner compounded the problem of delays in cleaning Susan's suit and may lead to the loss of her business in the future. As a manager, how would you get customers to clear their tables after eating at the food court? How would you make the staff at the dry cleaner friendlier?

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