The characteristics of services and managerial implications


Services are an integral part of many markets, or businesses in their own right.

Each service has atypical characteristics that make its management often more difficult or at least very different from that of physical products.

Intangibility, perishability, direct customer involvement are most often mentioned as having the greatest impact on management choices.

In order to respond to these elements of attention, they must be considered in an overall view when designing:

  • the level of service to be provided (global service);
  • basic, or core, services;
  • peripheral, or additional, services;
  • the level of integration and customer contact procedures.

Additional service levels

There are several levels of service that can be added to the basic service.

But be careful as some caveats are necessary:

  1. peripheral services, even if not requested, once offered they must be kept foreveron pain of customer dissatisfaction
  2. peripherals can reach have a strong impact on total costs
  3. customers are no less demanding on peripherals
  4. competition leads to imitation of peripherals, which are easier for competitors to reproduce than the basic service.

Dispensing process

The characteristic of having the simultaneous presence of customer and supplier at the time of service delivery raises the need to design the service delivery system in a timely manner. With delivery system means the set of operations to be carried out in order to effectively "manage" the customer, enabling him/her to best access and use the service.

This means designing for each stage of the delivery process:

  • the equipment and the technology back-office;
  • the environments reception and work area and all material elements (uniforms, objects, etc.)
  • the modes of operation and relationship with the outside world;
  • the activities and behaviour of personnel in contact with the customer.

How to lower the degree of anxiety and uncertainty of the customer?
What actions can be used to activate positive word-of-mouth?
And with which to block any negative word of mouth?

Firstly with the quality of the service provided. And then by reassuring it with the communication, before disbursement, during, and after.

back and public services

 The role of contact personnel

A fundamental role, precisely because of the intrinsic characteristics of the service, is played by the back office and contact personnel. In services, you cannot have a satisfied customer if you do not have satisfied staff.

In this case, the content of the work (the role of the contact personnel towards the customer) and the concept of the overall service to be offered must be strongly internalised by the contact personnel. But not only that: if the delivery system is not very standardised, he must also internalise the company's service 'philosophy'. This will guide him when, faced with 'unpredictable' customer requests and therefore not covered by the delivery system, he will still have to respond and manage customer satisfaction.

Internal marketing strategy

How to ensure that contact personnel have internalised the service? By implementing a consistent internal marketing strategy.

The ultimate goal of internal marketing is to ensure the development of a consistent service philosophy and culture in the company, which, as we have seen, is one of the key elements of service management.

A correct internal marketing strategy starts with a precise identification of the needs and expectations of contact personnel and a clear description of the activities required by the role. In fact, contact personnel are often required to perform activities and operations that presuppose different knowledge and skills.

Service Design

duble diamond model
italiacamerun Aedic association

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Italy - Gorizia

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