Provision of appropriate servicescape is of strategic importance. Services cape performs. a variety of roles which cause a favorable impact on customers.
Important Role of the Servicescape
The role of servicescape may be discussed under the following headings:
- Socializer and
Packaging is a marketing necessity. Consumers do not want just the product. They want explanation, assurance, encouragement, confidence and praise. Packaging serves in most cases as a vehicle by which the brand of the product is carried through to the consumers. Similar to the package of a tangible product, the servicescape and other tangible evidences wrap the services.
Packages communicate the external image of the service to consumers. A service is created and provided in a physical environment. The service provider and customers interact in service firm’s physical environment. The tangible elements such as visiting cards, billing statements, website etc., of the service firm complement the service offering. The outward appearance of the service firm is the visual aspect of the intangible service. The appearance of the personnel, their uniforms or dress and other elements perform the function of a tangible product’s package.
The servicescape facilitates the performances of persons in the environment. In the properly designed service setting, service activities will flow efficiently. A well-designed functional facility makes the experience of the customer a pleasant one. The service employee also finds his job pleasant. When the physical facility is poor, both employees and customers get frustrated.
For example, an international air traveler is dissatisfied with poorly designed airport. An airport with few signs, poor ventilation and poor catering facilities will cause utmost inconvenience to him. His visit to the airport will be disappointing. The employees working there will also be demotivated. Besides, the passenger seat comfort of the aircraft is a very significant factor in determining passengers’ comfort.
In fact, international airline carriers devote much time and resources on a better seat design. Airlines advertise about the comfort of their seats turning into full flat bed for the convenience of long-distance passengers on their websites. So, the facilitator role of the servicescape has become increasingly important.
The design of the servicescape has some tangible of the intangible service. For example, building area, customer information, sign boards, equipment, waiting room, pay phone, brochures, reports, billing statements, etc. These evidences are to be properly used by the service employees in discharge of their duties.
The servicescape helps to convey expected roles, behavior and relationships among service personnel. Equipment, furniture and fittings have functionality. Here, functionality means the ability of the furnishings and fittings to facilitate the accomplishment of the employee and customer goals.
The space provided in the firm facilitates customer interaction with service employees. For example, in a coffee house, many customers tend to spend time socializing rather than coming in only for a quick cup of coffee. Comfortable lounge chairs and tables set in perfect ambiance encourage socializing, interaction and a longer stay.
The servicescape acts as a differentiator. The design of the physical facility varies with service firms. Physical environment differentiates a service organisation from its competitors. It is directed at the market segment to which the service is intended for. Such differentiation is done even within the service firm itself.
The seats on an air flight are designed to differentiate business class from economy class. In shopping malls, the signage, the colours used in decor and displays and type of channel music all are aimed at the intended market segment.
A restaurant communicates through its servicescape its differentiation for individual customer and family members. Price differentiation is also achieved through variations in physical setting. Generally, in lodges, bigger rooms with more amenities cost more.
Larger seats with more leg room are more expensive on an airplane. Customers who are willing to pay higher prices can experience the service in a different environment.