Main features of services compared to goods
According to Hassan & Kaynak (1994), there are four major characteristics of services. Services are intangible, inseparable, perishable, and heterogeneous (p. 147).
Services are said to be intangible because they cannot be measured physically or transferred in the same manner as physical items. It also implies that it is difficult to protect the services as it is often done to physical goods. It is difficult to communicate services readily and to set the prices as opposed to the case of physical goods (Hassan & Kaynak, 1994).
The inseparable quality means that the services can be produced and consumed simultaneously; hence it is not easy to have massive production of services at the same time. In most cases, the service providers often deal directly with the service clients, unlike it is the case in the production of goods (Hassan & Kaynak, 1994).
Services are heterogeneous because they are unique each time they are delivered to the client. The services are also more difficult to regulate compared to physical goods. For example, each passenger’s journey from one town to the next is different from all the other trips (Hassan & Kaynak, 1994).
Most services are regarded as perishable because they may only be useful at the time of production and cannot be stored for later use. Because the services are perishable, the marketers formulate techniques to respond to the fluctuating demand. The service industry is expanding steadily and is increasingly targeting the international markets much the same way the physical product marketers have done (Hassan & Kaynak, 1994).
How technology is changing customer service and service offerings
The advancement in technology has significantly transformed business processes, including the quality of services offered to customers.
Internet-based electronic commerce is considerably transforming business patterns. Businesses continue to adopt this technology. The clients continue to obtain services via computer networks and the internet. The electronic frameworks have enhanced interactions between organizations and clients. The e-commerce business models are assisting businesses and organizations to perform huge investments and to generate huge returns by enabling the businesses to partner with suppliers and other trade partners. The partnerships help facilitate business processes, hence improves the business-consumer interactions (Shin, 2003).
Buyers and sellers take advantage of the web infrastructure to offer and obtain products online. The sellers use websites for advertising products and services. The websites and storefronts are made accessible to clients globally, which increases convenience for the clients. The clients can access business services electronically. For example, customers make payments electronically by use of special payment online methods, including Paypal, cybercash, and so on (Shin, 2003).
Improved quality of service
Companies are able to deliver better service quality and product offerings. Many of the companies are increasingly getting recognized for fast service delivery due to improved technological processes. The adoption of new service delivery models is responding to customer needs by a wide variety of services. Rather than directing the services to a specific category of clients, the new technological models enable universal contracts with international clients at global levels (Hassan, 1994).
Improved speed of service delivery
High-speed internet communicating devices has led to faster data communications between networks. The measures have radically shortened the period of time taken to deliver services to clients in almost every institution, including banks, government institutions, as well as small and medium-sized businesses (Hassan, 1994).
Hassan, S.S., & Kaynak, E. (1994). Globalization of consumer markets: structures and strategies. London: Routledge. pp.140-204.
Shin, N. (2003). Creating business value with information technology: challenges and solutions. New York: Idea Group Inc.pp.175-200.