There are several information sources about consumer buyer behaviour
when it comes to the purchase of a physical product, but the unique
characteristics of service products require a different strategy from
most important characteristic of a service product is its intangibility. Where
physical (tangible) products are promoted, customers can be enticed to buying
the product by giving out samples, or they can look at and try out the product
- all of these play a role in the decision making process. However, with a
service product, these options are not available. In certain cases, clients can
be shown a picture to make the service more tangible, for instance when trying
out a new hair cut, or they can form an impression of the service by looking at
an architect's sketches when building a new house.
The intangibility of a service product makes is more prone to
subjectivity when consumers have to decide on a specific service provider, over
another, and word-of-mouth plays an important role in the decision making
process. Marketers of a service product need to make consumers aware of the
availability of the service, and its provider. The range of features,
advantages, and benefits that users will derive, and the convenience of the
service are all types of information that a consumer would want to know before
making the buying decision. As affluence increases, services become more
affordable and leisure time becomes more valuable, and this causes consumers to
purchase a service rather that performing a task themselves - washing your car
at a car-wash is a good example of this.
perceived professionalism and competence of the firm are also important
considerations for deciding which service product to use, because it is often
difficult for a consumer to distinguish one service provider from another.
Therefore, the image of a particular service firm might be the only factor that
makes it preferable over another in the consumer's mind. Good service
reputation and transparency are two powerful methods for service providers to
consumers may perceive the risk of buying a service to be higher than for
consumers purchasing physical goods. Because of the intangibility and
subjectivity involved in making the buying decision, consumers cannot rely as
heavily on gathering information than is the case for physical products.
Consumers might also perceive the risk of buying a service greater, because
services are not standardised and the outcome can be different every time the
service is used (for example a haircut). Also, if you have purchased a service,
and are not happy with the outcome, you can't simply return it as with physical
products. The consequences of a badly performed service can be severe (for
example if you had your car repaired and are unhappy with the outcome.)
is an important type of information that service marketers can supply to
consumers in the buying process. But it is important to keep in mind that price
affects a prospective buyer's expectations of the service. Some consumers might
be willing to pay more for a service because they probably associate higher
prices with higher quality, and thus they think they can reduce the risk
involved in buying a service product.
been found that companies which provide general service information provide
price information and provides a service guarantee, significantly lowers the
perceived risk in buying their products.
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