To what extent does the product service mix, or service product, mix affect your selling?
You see, your product attracts your prospect, but your service retains your customer. A majority of products carry with them an element of service but in varied degrees. The hospitality industry, for instance, has a heavy dose of both. Take a hotel. The dazzling images on the website will attract you to visit, even book a staycation. And while staying there you find the mouth-watering food (another product), heated swimming pool and the spacious rooms (two more products), are all that, and a bag of fries.
So why are you complaining bitterly? Well, because the waiters kept forgetting your order. There was even one who presented you with a menu scribbled on a piece of a paper. “We’re printing new ones,” he explained. The housekeeping staff dragged their feet over simple things like changing your bed sheets. Also, the staff didn’t seem to know their right hand from their left and were wanting in responsiveness Overall, though you had rated the product as A you now rate the service an E. And to ‘Rate your experience overall?’ you also give an E. What about you? What is the product service mix in your company? How is it affecting your selling?
Now here’s the paradox. Notice that the hotel never asks for you to rate the building or room or any its products. They ask for your experience, which is largely a function of how you felt. So, if the bed was creaking and the staff quickly apologized and changed it, or your room, you’d have rated the experience as an A. Had they not, you’d have complained about their poor service and creaking beds. The paradox is, as with many other product service system companies, for some reason, the focus is on product, not service. Strange, huh?
What does my product service do?
What about you? What is the service component of your product? For my newspaper vendor, the product is the newspaper he faithfully leaves with the askari every weekend and bills me end month. The service is how he competently handles my complaint when I protest that I never got the Sunday paper or that the invoice amount is wrong. How he handles this service determines my continuing to buy the product, or not. A poor service from him, and I’ll still buy the product. Just not from him. What about you? What aspect of service in your product could compromise the sale or customer retention?
Service Product Mix
Even seemingly exclusive service oriented systems or companies have a product in them. If your bank’s mobile app or ATM card frustrates your accessing your account, then it is these ‘useless’ products (as you likely refer to them as) that will see you looking for the exit signs. Even if the service (responsive- but unhelpful- staff) is stellar.
Make the switch
You see, the challenge with product service or service product mix is that the part that retains is secondary to the prospect but primary to the customer. Unfortunately, for most businesses they forget to switch. We’ve attracted them and they’ve come, so they’ll stay, they reason. Unfortunately, they don’t.
So there you have it. By all means create a must-have product or service. Remember though, that that’s the easy half. The more complicated half is creating products that complement, (not frustrate) your stellar service.
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