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Consumer behaviour in Services

How does a customer differentiate & evaluate goods/services;
1. Qualities (which he can determine before purchasing)
Search of quality can be estimated before purchase or
consumption of services e.g. price, convenience, the way the
service is performed by the people and promptness of the service
or the response
when a customer orders for food for home delivery, he takes into
account the price, the delivery time and the way the delivery man
delivers and politely talks
Since it is easy to evaluate, the goods will be high in search
Consumer behaviour in Services
2. Experience quality (colour, style, price, fit, feel, smell, taste
Services have higher experience characteristics than goods
A passenger traveling by air would rate on the aspects like
courtesy of the cabin-crew, departure and arrival in time, quality
of food offered etc OR a person eating out would rate the
restaurant on the aspects of the courtesy shown by the people
taking/serving orders, quality of food, quantity of food served,
the dcor of the seating place, and other aesthetics,
surroundings etc
The services high in experience qualities are Meals at
restaurants, vacations at locations or outings at resorts,
haircut etc

Consumer behaviour in Services
3. Credence qualities the qualities which even after use are
difficult to assess
The user will use the product/service on the basis of the claims
of the company, but may not be able to assess even after use
While taking a medical advice for surgery, it is difficult to
assess if the operation or medicines are necessary OR your
car repair based on the assessment of the service stations, but
difficult to assess if the diagnosis was correct and necessary
The services high in credence quality are medical, legal,
auto repair, repair of consumer durables etc.
Consumer behaviour in Services
Five decision making categories are as under;
1. Need Perception
Physiological the basic need of food, water, clothing
Safety & Security Shelter & Protection
Social Friends / relations / colleagues etc
Ego after achieving success / accomplishment getting self
Self actualisation motivating yourself for education / hard
working / competing etc
Consumer behaviour in Services
2. Information search
Personal search (friends and experts)
Non-personal search (mass or selective media)
However in the case of services, the perceived risk is much
higher since services are in-tangible
The services are non-standardised, and therefore un-
certainty about outcome and consequences will always be
Service purchases may involve more risks, as these are not
warranted or guaranteed
Consumer behaviour in Services
3. Evaluation of alternatives
In case of goods, a person visits market (a store or any
other stocking point), while in the case of services, he visits
the establishment of the service provider (like bank)
In the case of services, the number of providers of a
service, are limited or may be one or two, while the goods
suppliers are normally high
Difficult to get pre-purchase information about services
In the case of services therefore the choice is limited as
compared to goods
Consumer behaviour in Services
4. Purchase and consumption
Since services are experiences, Emotions and Moods
influence peoples perceptions and evaluations (moods are
transient feelings occurring at specific times and situations
while emotions are more intense, stable and pervasive
Performance by service actors (a chef showing at a
restaurant the way he prepares a dish, a bar man showing a
cocktail being made, a visit to hospital where in the earlier
case, a nurse did a fine job, in legal service, medical or
education, the roll of doctors, lawyers, or professors)
Physical setting of service (how the restaurant, room dcor
in a hotel, etc)
Consumer behaviour in Services
Service roles (a hostess at a restaurant to wish and
receive, see the number of people and then guide to the
desired/available table, in airlines caring for an aged person
on wheelchair to plane)
The sequence of happenings called as script (in a hotel,
receiving, guiding to reception, attending at the counter,
allotment of the room, accompanying and carrying of the
Compatibility with other customers (in a hotel or restaurant
or club, if you are the only customer, the feeling is different
while if you have some important people to mix up). In the
extreme case the place becomes too crowded, you may not
like to have service next time. The customers can be in-
compatible due to different faiths, beliefs, values, age,
health etc.
Consumer behaviour in Services
5. Post-purchase Evaluation
In the case the customers are dissatisfied, with goods,
may attribute their dissatisfaction to a number of sources
(like bad quality, bad producer/dealer, even themselves),
while in the case of services, since they participate in
defining and production of services, they may feel more
responsible for their selection
To improve this or get a feedback many a companies have
started LOYALTY programme for retaining the customers
Consumer behaviour in Services
Culture is transmitted from one generation to other by the
process of learning, sharing and training
It plays an important role in services marketing
Based on the behaviour and attitudes of the employees, the
customer evaluates and uses service
It is therefore sometimes very difficult to be an international
Service provider unless the culture and values of other country is
woven into the systems
Culture Includes:
Values and attitudes differ across culture and people of a
culture may think something as right while others may not
Consumer behaviour in Services
Manners and customs decide the ways of behaviour
Material culture cars, houses, clothes and furniture are
examples of material culture
Aesthetics refers to ideas about good looking and taste
Educational and social institutions the type of training or
teachings to be imparted, interactions among students in the
class or hospitals etc
Consumer behaviour in Services
Though the difference as in both cases more than one person is
involved in the decision making but still there is a major difference;
Household consumers also would decide jointly or collectively, but
since the number of people are much smaller in numbers and the
senior members are supposed to be more intelligent and
experienced, the decision may finally be what the senior member of
the family says
Organisational consumers have to work like a team and they are
more specialised in the field for the selection. They have to identify
the needs of a collective group of people, in the interest of the
However even here also the decision is sometimes influenced and
imposed by a senior executive