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Executive Summary

A service is any act or performance that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything. It may or may not be tied to a physical product. Five categories of offerings are: (1) pure tangible good, (2) tangible good with accompanying services, (3) hybrid offering of equal parts goods and services, (4) major service with accompanying minor goods and services, and (5) pure service. Services are intangible, inseparable, variable, and perishable. Marketers must find ways to give tangibility to intangibles, to increase service providers’ productivity, to increase and standardize the service quality, and to match the supply of services with market demand.

Marketing of services faces new realities due to customer empowerment, customer coproduction, and the need to satisfy employees as well as customers. Achieving excellence in service marketing calls for external marketing, internal marketing, and interactive marketing. Top service companies adopt a strategic concept, have top-management commitment to quality, commit to high standards, establish profit tiers, and monitor service performance and customer complaints. They also differentiate their brands through primary and secondary service features and continual innovation. Superior service delivery requires managing customer expectations and incorporating self-service technologies. Manufacturers of tangible products should identify and satisfy customer needs for service and provide postpurchase service.

 
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