What Is Service?

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Service is a word that we always use in our daily lives. It acts as an important role in many businesses and is a leading indicator to measure customer loyalty. Service is a kind of product that is not physical and not tangible such as some medical care and food delivery. These are the things that people cannot touch or feel. Kolter (2000) suggested that a service is an act or performance that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything. Its production may or may not be tied to a physical product. Although services seem to be different from products, there are some suggestions show that there is a relationship between them.

Service dominant logic (SDL) is another way to see service. The conventional nation views service as the dominant logic for marketing. However, under the service dominant logic, it is viewed that service is the governing marketing phenomenon as it unifies different relationships from marketing to production and from consumption to resource pronouncement. Vargo and Lush (2004) define is SDL implies that all businesses are service businesses and covers all economic and social activities. They also mention that service is the exchange of service and it is the main process of using resources to benefit other parties. The idea of SDL is not about exchanging knowledge and between producers and consumers. It is mainly about how the consumers integrate, apply and use the resources to a specific producer. For example, some families use the lawn robot every day which is a complex technical product. It helps to maintain the length of the grass. The same service can be provided by a gardener who can mow the lawn three times a week. It shows that the lawn robot provides a service with lower prices and greater reliability. However, the prerequisites are that we have to know how to use the machine and install the technical boundary wires. It depends on our ability, knowledge as users of the service and willingness to co-create in this context and it determines the value of the product. Therefore, service dominant logic shows that products may not be different from services. A company can offer potential value to customers without direct interaction. The value co-creation between firms and consumers has capabilities of combining their skills, experiences and knowledge. It means that the product has no value until an offering is used as customers are always a co creator of value.

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One of the main areas for consumers to purchase services is consumer experience. Consumer experience is based on the effective communication efforts its package and interaction between consumers and employees. It is the internal and subjective response customers have to any direct or indirect contact with the company (Schwager and Meyer, 2007). Emotions and moods are factors that can influence consumers’ experience. According to the interpersonal theory of emotions (Parkinson, 1995), emotions and their expression are elicited in the context of an implicit or explicit social situation and are perhaps the most proximate variables to an individual’s reaction to an event and any subsequent cognition or action. Oliver (1997) suggested that positive emotions increasing satisfaction while negative emotions decreasing satisfaction.

Marketers use the buying decision-making process to identify and track the decision making process of a customer journey from start to finish (Lucidchart.com, 2017). It includes 5 main stages, problem recognition, information search, alternatives evaluation, purchase decision and post-purchase evaluation. The moods and emotions in these steps can affect consumers’ satisfaction in their experience. It can bias the way that they judge the service providers. For example, a person orders food delivery after having a bad day. The consumer may be impatient and annoyed about the delivery time even it is the same or faster than normal. However, if the consumers have positive emotions when they are served, it gives prominence to the good experiences and leads to better evaluation. Besides, moods and emotions also affect our memories about the information that consumers absorb from the service. For example, if a customer goes to a gym room and able to meet many new friends and becomes fit. The customer may have a positive feeling and good memories whenever the customer thinks about that gym room even its equipment are not as good as other gym rooms. It is mainly because of their emotional state. Quality and the moods of the service employees also affect the consumers’ experiences. If the consumers are served well, they will have positive emotions and experiences but the interactions and emotions between consumers and serve employees will be affected if serve employees are rude. Therefore, it shows that emotions and moods act as an important role in consumers’ experiences. Organizations can improve their quality of services by observing the consumers’ emotional responses.

Customer expectations of service play an important role in delivering satisfactory services and can be used to judge the services. They are any set of behaviours or actions that individuals anticipate when interacting with a company. Parasuraman et al. (1991) proposed that customer expectations comprise two levels, desired and adequate. Desired expectations represented that the level of service a customer hopes to receive and how they want the service to perform. For example, the desired expectations of a 5-star hotel for the customers are clean, elegant and excellent room service. Adequate expectations are a lower level of expectation. It is the customers’ acceptable level of performance. For example, customers may have higher expectations from 3mobile than O2. When 3 mobile can provide better service and solve their problems completely but needs longer waiting time to get in contact with the customer services while O2’s service may not be able to solve the customers’ problems instantly. People may still feel disappointed with 3 mobile even the quality efficiency of their customer services are better.

There are many factors can affect customer expectations. For the desired service expectations, two factors are included. Firstly is the personal needs. They are related to conditions that are essential for customers’ physical or psychological well-being. Personal needs can be physical, functional and psychological. The second one is lasting service intensifiers. Liu et al. (2000) suggest that lasting service intensifiers refer to the stable service factors that allow the customer to have a higher understanding of service. Customers are always part of a large group and their service expectations can be influenced by group dynamics and experiences easily. Adequate service expectation is mainly affected by 5 factors (Zeithaml et al, 1993). They are temporary service intensifier, perceived alternatives, customer’s self-perceived service role, situational factors and predicted service. Temporary service intensifier means the short term factors and situations that customer realizes the need for service such as insurance as it is an emergency personal need. Perceived alternatives refer to other service providers the customers can choose from. Customer’s self-perceived service role means that customers have a perception of how much they can influence the level of service they receive. Situational factors mean a service can be compromised because of situational factors that are beyond the service provider’s control.

Predicted service is the level of service the customers believe they are most likely to get. It is the performance that the customers predict to get and the estimation of the performance level. Technology is another factor that influences services. There are two classes of technology affect service industries, such as automatic telling machines and self-checkout machines. There is rapid development for the internet in recent years and it has already been a host of new services.

There are different kinds of new services on the internet such as online buying, online banking, live chat and writing reviews or feedbacks online. According to the report, there are more than 4.57 billion of people around the world are internet users (Kemp, 2020). Customers prefer simplicity nowadays. Technology can simplify the process of serving and makes everything convenient. For example, many companies have moved face-to-face service to mobile service or live chat on the internet. Customers can also do research and know more information on the internet by themselves. However, some information on the internet are not correct and misleading. If customers receive that information, their service expectations can be affected.

In conclusion, service can affect consumers’ choices and purchase behaviour although it is intangible. It is also hard for employers to set a price for the service. Services can be improved through analysing customers’ experiences and expectations. There is an increase in using technological services. However, it is believed that it will not replace traditional services. It is because face-to-face interaction is important to people. It tends to be more persuasive when customers and serve employees are both seen and heard

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