Services are meant to meet customers needs. The customers therefore must be satisfied with the services they are being offered as requested or payed for. In service marketing, there are always internal clients and external clients, the internal clients are always the objective of service marketing (Wilson 1991). The skills the company trains the employees to acquire are meant for identification of client needs and quality service provision.
It is therefore important to maintain quality service provision. Improving service quality requires the involvement of customers (Shostack 1987). Company clients or customers have different tastes and characteristics and therefore would not want the same thing. Some clients or customers do not even care about quality provided the service is given to them. Some consider prices while most consider the quality of a service. Clients consider the reliability and performance of an organisation too when making purchasing decisions. These are the reasons why a marketing manager should know the characteristics of customers when formulating a service marketing strategy (Shostack 1987).
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It is also important to know the type of strategy to be used and the requirements of that strategy. Mattsson indicates that improving a market services needs the identification of the fail points. Fail points are the areas that were not tackled in provision of services but are important in customer satisfaction. Identification of these fail points need service models (1994). Service models are the techniques an organisation uses to ensure there is efficient service provision to the customers and customer satisfaction. Identifying an appropriate model for studying the customer characteristics is the main consideration that marketing managers should have in mind when formulating a marketing strategy (Mattsson 1994).
This service analysis report gives a case of Absolute Domestic company that deals with offering house keeping and cleaning services. The agency is based in Australia and operates in a large market of all capital cities of New Zealand and Australia. The report just shows the services, objectives and how the agency offers the services from which an analysis of the service marketing is conducted.
Two service marketing models are discussed showing the requirements and conditions under which each model is used and compared with the service marketing of Absolute Domestic. This is the basis of the analysis of the service marketing of Absolute Domestic agency. Recommendations on an appropriate model for improving the service marketing is also discussed based on the service marketing tools and the important 4ps among the 7ps. The last section of the report constitutes conclusion indicating the general comment on service marketing handled in this report.
This is an agency that deals with providing housekeeping and domestic cleaning services. It is a private employment agency that was established in 1993 and serves all the cities in Australia. It has also expanded to New Zealand. This agency was set up to help families sort out their cleaning problems like looking for housework help, looking for regular cleaner replacements and low quality standard cleaners. It was set up on these basis to provide the services that the families need at appropriate times.
The agency has objectives that they make sure they fulfil. One of the objectives is to satisfy the customers. The agency has recruitment officers that trains cleaners on various services that the customers may need so that the customer has a choice to make from the variety of cleaners. Absolute Domestic has supervisory strategies that they use to find out if the customer is satisfied. They supervise the work done by their cleaners after completion (Absolute Domestics 2008).
Absolute Domestic cleaners offer a variety of domestic and cleaning services. The services are cleaning, tidying, vacuuming, laundry, making beds, ironing and many other house hold cleaning and duties. The services are provided on a daily, weekly, fortnightly or even one time basis. It is the customer to choose on the number of hours he/she wants the cleaning to be done and for what number of days or weeks (Absolute Domestics 2008).
Absolute domestic service marketing
Absolute Domestic agency ensures the information about the agency reaches the people through the Internet and other advertising sources. It bases its marketing on the quality of the services that the agency provides, reliability of the company due to all time service provision and the quality staff that are trained by the recruitment officers. The company has had a lot of experience than other domestic services companies as indicated and therefore enjoys market due to experience. The company has also a very large market, it serves all the capital cities of Australia and New Zealand (Absolute Domestics 2008).
Absolute Marketing provides clients with booking forms on line or advices clients to call them when in need of their services. The agency considers that the customers or the clients are the main reason for their establishment and so provide easy access to the information on how to get their services. This is one way of ensuring that the clients in need of the services, get the services and not go for other domestic cleaning service providers (Moschis 1994).
Absolute Domestic cleaning agency ensures that there are well trained and skilled employees, who are reliable and honest, that will handle the clients with respect and honesty. They aim at gaining client confidence hence retaining the customers and gaining more. Client confidence is also built by monitoring how the cleaners that the agency have do their work. The agency does supervision after every work done to a client. The services provided to the customers therefore are ensured that are of quality. The services are provided for twenty four hours in seven days of the week (Absolute Domestics 2008).
There are three basic issues in this marketing tool that can make a business of service production be successful. These are the value of services that a business or company provides, the type and standard of services customers look for or demand, and the contribution the services make to the company considering the budget and the company plans. Blueprinting marketing model is meant for short term improvement of a company's or organisation's units. According to Baum, the main reason why a company can decide to use blueprinting is for cost reduction (1990).
How Blueprinting of services can deliver
Just as has been indicated before, there are three key issues that can make a company be successful in provision of services with blueprinting. These are the value of the service offered during labour time, the service mix and the company's plans and budget. The report will discuss the three issues and show how a business or a company can improve the marketing of services, or just how the company can handle certain cases in service marketing (Fisher et al., 2006: 69).
Management of labour time: Blueprinting utilises the structure of work to reduce cost by minimising the idle labour time. If a company decides on service blueprinting, the human resource manager or the marketing manager has to ensure that there is a work flow of labour service provision from the time the business starts to the time it closes. Blueprinting services increases the productivity of the employees and reduces the wasted time hence increased productivity generally in the company (Baum 1990).
The marketing manager should identify the idle times and make allocations for service provision of the time to reduce costs. Human resource management requires employees to be trained, recruited and the best selected for service provision. Blueprinting services reduces the number of employees to be employed since any free time an employee has is made use of by giving tasks. This leads to leveraging (Baum 1990). There are considerations a marketing manager or a human resource manager should consider as important in blueprinting. These are, as stated by Baun (1990), what the customers think about the labour time they are provided with and the available resources.
Service mix: This is another important issue in blueprinting. It involves having knowledge on what the customer wants, what they prefer in terms of quality and other service values. It requires the knowledge of what satisfies the customer and what the customers do not like and using the knowledge to beat the competition around using less costs (Fisher et al., 2006: 69).
Service mix requires a marketing manager to identify where there is an advantageous attribute and make use of it, and avoid its use if in any case it can make loses to the company. Service mix as a blueprinting marketing feature encourages the thorough study of customer likes and dislikes. What pleases customers and identification if customers care about service standards and the different values offered should be known to the marketing department (Baum 1990).
Plans and Budgets: Blueprinting can only lead to success if the plans and budgets are adhered to. There is no way success can be achieved if a plan is made and another different one is followed. Blueprinting requires a company to make plans on how the services will be provided. After identification of the services that the customers like and having the strategy of maximum time utilisation, plans on how to accomplish the findings have to be made and followed. This means that the company needs to send the correct signals to the employees. This is by making budgets and plans that are consistent with the blueprinting services (Baum 1990).
This is a technique used in marketing strategy to study the characteristic of the customer. Customer characteristics are such as purchasing power, income, age among others. Dendograms are clusters used to compare the characteristics of customers (Lillien and Rangaswamy 2004). The main aim of using dendograms or clusters of hierarchy is to group customers with similar characteristics to help in service or goods provision.
Cluster analysis helps marketing managers in grouping customers in order to know how to deal with them collectively and provide them with the services that satisfy them. The first step involves creating a table of related characteristics. This is referred to as forming the matrix algorithm. The data matrix always have the people in rows and the characteristics being analysed in columns. A matrix can be formed by analysing the characteristics based on the distance between the two or more objects, in this case the customers. The matrix is formed in such a way that the distance relationship between the customers give how close or how apart they are (Lillien and Rangaswamy 2004).
A characteristic such as love for quality products could be analysed using the dendogram. After drawing a table showing the differences or the similarity, values or numbers are given to the similarity level or the difference level. A customer characteristic being analysed is given a number such as12 to represent how much the customer likes the quality and 10 to another to show how much the customer likes the quality of the service or product. Comparison is then made based on the chosen technique which can be by multiplication of the two figures or subtraction to base conclusion on the results (Lillien and Rangaswamy 2004).
It is always dictated in the method what the multiplication or the subtraction represents. The multiplication may represent how close the two customers are in their likeness if the number is big and how different they are if the result is small. The subtraction result can indicate how close the customers are in characteristics if the number is small and how different they are if the result of subtraction is a big number (Lillien and Rangaswamy 2004). This type of clustering is referred to as the agglomerative method. It is from the figures of the results that the customers are grouped together based on how close they are in a hieirachial manner.
Analysis of absolute domestic agency
Absolute Domestic Agency and Blueprint services
Analysing the strategy that Absolute Domestic private employment agency uses as compared to blueprinting brings out so many similarities and differences. The type or strategy that Absolute Domestic uses to market the services is not clearly shown. From the discussion, it can be concluded that there is a mixture of strategies though not very clear which. Some features of blueprinting are revealed in the marketing strategy of Absolute Domestic.
Absolute Domestic Agency considers customer satisfaction to be number one in their business and considers doing business operations making sure that this is accomplished. The training that is done to the employees is just to make sure that the customers get what they need. Since customers differ, it is evident that Absolute Domestic agency studies the characteristics of the customers to know what they need and work out on ways to provide it.
In blueprinting, customer satisfaction knowledge makes the company or the business be successful if services are provided based on the study outcomes. From this then, it can be concluded that this organisation (Absolute Domestic) uses some ideas from blueprinting in their marketing strategy.
Other measures taken by Absolute Domestic showing customer satisfaction concern are the advertisement on the Internet giving the customers easy access to the information, and providing booking forms that can be submitted through the Internet giving the customer easy time to order for a cleaning service. The agency also offers twenty four hours -seven days services which gives the customers the convenient time to choose when to be offered the service.
On plans and budgets, the agency can be considered to have specific plans to follow. The organisation provides services throughout day and night and for all days of the week. This means that there is a set plan that is always followed to assign the duties to the employees though not indicated. The supervision that is always done to find out the quality of service an employee delivers if assigned duty is a sign of following a plan written down by the company to guide in ensuring that customer receives the quality he/she requested. This helps maintain the customers.
The employees of Absolute Domestic seem to be so many because of the time allocated for service provision. The agency offers twenty four hours service for all the days of the week. This means that the employees have to work in alternating turns to ensure that any time a customer demands for a service, there is someone to attend to him/her. Blueprinting marketing strategy on the other hand reduces the number of employees as it utilises all employee's time, reducing the idle time and increasing productivity. Absolute Domestic is not shown to be have this kind of feature in the marketing strategy.
Absolute Domestic Agency and Dendograms
Dendograms as have been described, are very important in the marketing of the services or products. They play an important role in the performance of an organisation in providing customer characteristic analysis. Considering the marketing strategy that Absolute Domestic have, they study the customers and work basically to ensure the customers are satisfied, but the model of determining the characteristics is not shown. Looking at how this agency provides the services, conclusion can be drawn that the company uses a system that gives them the characteristic of the very many different customers that they have (Batra et al. 1999).
The company has a very large market and for it to manage how to handle the customers, knowledge of the characteristics have to be known. The capitals in which this agency deals have very many people. These people cannot be classified individually. There has to be a grouping or a clustering system that can give specific groups a similar characteristic so that the group is attended to by that determined measure. The agency therefore can be considered to be using dendograms to cluster its customers based on the characteristics such as quality of service customers, time consciousness and many other characteristics.
Marketing managers have always to consider the marketing mix in the strategies they choose to use. The Marketing mix constitutes the 4ps which are the basic ones normally considered when there is need to maintain the customers. The 4ps are the product, promotion, price and place. In marketing of services though, an additional 3 should be considered. These are the Personnel, physical assets and the procedures (Goldsmith 1999).
When a marketing manager develops a strategy for marketing, it is appropriate to consider all the 7ps. The personnel, available resources and the procedures within the organisation, influences the performance. These should therefore be given attention when formulating a marketing strategy for an organisation. Considering Absolute Domestic agency, the marketing manager should consider the resources the agency have, the type of personnel the agency has, the procedures that the agency have and how to promote the services the agency offers. The company already have customers in various cities and the customers know the prices the company always charge, therefore consideration should only be given to the four mentioned.
For improvement purposes, the agency only needs to implement a strategy that considers how to promote the services in order to improve. The strategy has to consider the personnel since they are the ones that provide the services, the procedures since it is the procedures that determine the quality of the service, and the available agency assets so as not to make loses. Considering all these and the above analysis, it would be appropriate if Absolute Domestic marketing manager used dendograms to study the characteristics of the customers and developed a marketing strategy that considers the personnel, physical assets, procedures and the promotion of the services.
Absolute Domestic agency cannot use the blueprinting model in the whole organisation, but can use it specifically to improve a specific service. Blueprinting is used to make service improvements on short term basis therefore the agency cannot use this for marketing services of the company since this is a long term company with established customers.
Absolute Domestic agency has good marketing strategies but the recommendations are made for improvement steps. As indicated in this paper, marketing does not only need the marketing manager. It depends on so many other factors. One of the important things is the personnel in the organisation. Employees play a big role in a company and are the main link between the manager and the out put of the organisation (Purcell 2003).
They therefore should be given much thought with regard to the structure of the organisation to ensure that marketing plans succeed. The other thing is the marketing strategy which is affected by several factors of the company. Important things to be considered in a marketing strategy are the 7ps which a marketing manager has to select the relevant ones that apply to the company's case. This paper also outline the importance of service marketing models in improving consumer satisfaction hence good performance.
Absolute Domestics, 2008, The services,Objectives of the Agency.
Retrieved from: http://www.absolutedomestics.com.au/index.php?page=services; http://www.absolutedomestics.com.au/;
http://www.communityguide.com.au/community.cfm?/australia/site/homegarden/cleanin Absolute Domestic.
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