Marketing your Service Business

By David Malherbe   –   Published in Drakenstein Gazette – Friday 22 November 2013

You cannot handle a service beforehand like a product to inspect the quality thereof.  So customers will not know what they’ll get before they have bought it.  Therefore consumers usually rely more on word of mouth than on service-firm advertising.

This intangibility of a service makes it a lot more difficult to market a service business than a business that sells products.  Other characteristics of services that make it more difficult to market, are that it cannot be separated from the person who renders the service, that the quality of a service may differ from one day to another and may be influenced by the mood of the person rendering the service.  Services are also highly perishable in that it cannot be stored.

So to be successful in the marketing of your service business you have to pay attention to these realities.  It is important to realise that the customer’s experience of the service is the key to repeat business and it is the determining factor in what they tell others about your business.  So what can you do to make the service experience more memorable to your customers?

One of the best marketing tools is to add something tangible that will be memorable to the customer.  This may be the physical appearance or the interior of your business premises.  When people think of your business, this is the picture that they’ll remember.  I’m writing this article in a coffee shop with a nice atmosphere which, apart from the quality of the coffee, plays an important role in determining whether I’ll be back next week when I write the next You the Entrepreneur.

To give people something tangible to remind them of your business or of the experience they had, can also be a great marketing tool. A photo that you get when you bungee jump, a fridge magnet, a calendar, a key holder or pen with your company’s name on it can all serve as  reminders of the service people have experienced.

But all these help little if you do not render an excellent service in the first place, because that is the experience that will be remembered.

David Malherbe and Dewald Scholtz will discuss this topic in more detail Monday evening from 19:00 till 20:00 on Radio KC 107.7 FM in the program “You the Entrepreneur”

(David Malherbe is a business- and career consultant and lives in Wellington.  He can be contacted via his web page or T/F 021-873 0262 or on Facebook at “Jy die Entrepreneur.”)

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