COMPETITIVE EDGE WITH SERVICES

May 28, 2010 at 9:24 am Leave a comment

Lets start this blog with a small quiz

Q. What is the major difference between an iPod and a normal mp3 player ?
A. Design

Q. What is the major difference between a Toyota and a Ford ?
A. Quality

Q. What is the major difference between a Rolex and a Titan watch ?
A. Brand (and the status it symbolizes)

Q. What is the major difference between vegetables you buy at two different supermarkets ?
A. Price (assuming same levels of cleanliness and accessibility)

As products mature in the product lifecycle, commoditization creeps in. All brands look the same and offer no more value than the other. Let us take an example here, the Indian airline industry has two major competitors at the top of the pyramid; Jet Airways and Kingfisher. Lets look at the above attributes and how these two airlines fare at them.

Quality : Same (with respect to product related attributes)
Brand : Same
Price : Same

There are many more attributes on which I can safely consider both airlines on par. However, I prefer Kingfisher airlines only because of their services. They have bell boys at the airports helping families, elders and children with their baggage. The staff is warm and pleasant to deal with.  They have created a great ambiance at every point that they interact with customers. This is a great example of service space being used to make that small difference that matters to customers like me. Other than that, the staff refer to customers as “Guest”.

As a service marketing major, I notice this in day to day interactions I have as a customer with various establishments. Recently, I was swayed to buy a washing machine and refrigerator only because of the ‘S’ factor. It also happens when I decide to eat out, service comes in a close second to taste.

As new age marketers, I suggest we look at services as a strong competitive strategy versus the traditional price/innovation strategies.

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Entry filed under: Misc. Tags: , , , , , .

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