Q1. The following are the four methods to use to meet or exceed consumer expectations (Hisrich, 2000);
- Customer feedback is very important for a business to meet and exceed consumer expectation. The business should have a reliable communication medium where customers can give a feedback such as compliments or grievances regarding a product. A reliable communication medium enables a business to identify the specific needs and wants of the consumer therefore gaining a competitive edge over its competitor.
- Customer support is very important if a business is to meet and exceed customer expectations. Customer support ranges from producing a cost effective product that is affordable. The customer should also be issued with an instruction manual that contains information on how to use the product, install, trouble shoot, and its maintenance, how it can be upgraded, and how to dispose it in case it becomes obsolete. After sales service is also very important because the business portrays that it still cares about the customer even after purchase of a product.
- Quality of a product is very important to a customer. A quality product that is inexpensive will exceed customers’ expectations. The customers expect the quality products to fulfill their needs as illustrated in the user manual without breaking down. The person selling the product needs to have a clear understanding of how the product is used. This will give the customer confidence in the quality of product being offered.
- Communication whether verbal or non-verbal is very important. A negative body language during interaction with the customer will show that the employees of the business do not care. The employee of the business must ensure that they portray a positive body language by maintaining eye contact and smiling with the customer. This will give the customer confidence in the product being sold to them. The business should strive to give a customer personalized service, which will ensure that their expectations have been met.
Q2. The following are characteristics that differentiate services from products (Hisrich, 2000);
- Heterogeneity/variability-products can be mass-produced and are homogeneous while services cannot be mass-produced. This is because services are unique even if the same service provider produces them. Services are people based and experience of the service provider is critical in maintaining the customers’ trust.
- Inseparability- it is difficult to separate the production of a service from its consumption. This means that every consumer will expect the service to be delivered by a specific individual in a specific way. The person who is expected to deliver the service will have to carry the burden of attitude, image, appearance, and knowledge.
- Perishability-services cannot be returned, stored for future use or saved once they have been rendered. Goods on the other hand can be returned or resold once they are used. If the service is not rendered at the expected time such as a meeting with the attorney its value diminishes. The supply and demand of a service poses a challenge to the marketers because it is difficult to maintain consistency if the demand of the service goes down.
- Intangibility-services are intangible since they cannot be held, smelt, tasted, or touched unlike products. They do not exist physically and this is one defining feature that distinguishes a service from a product. Intangibility poses a challenge to marketing managers since they cannot place tangible attributes to an intangible offering.
Hisrich, R. D. (2000). Marketing (2nd ed.). Hauppauge, N.Y.: Barron's.