The 4 C's in service marketing

When we commercialize services we must bear in mind that these have particular characteristics that make them different from tangible products, the main one is precisely that they are intangible, that is, we cannot evaluate them with any of our five senses such as sight, hearing, smell, touch or taste and therefore must be marketed differently.

In this article I refer to something that is not new and yet is extremely important for our success in the competitive market that we face every day, and I refer to "4c" which are: customer, comfort, communication and cost.

The client: is the person who can satisfy a need through the service provided by our company, and for this reason it is vital to have the absolute willingness to please him; that is, to design the service as much as possible, according to their needs: if we do it better than our competition, the client will feel satisfied with our services and will be loyal to the company.

Many times even though we know this, we do not apply it, and it may be that (according to our way of seeing it) our business is not bad and does not need to make changes, but if we consult with our clients what things could be done so that the service that We give them greater satisfaction we are amazed to see the range of possibilities we have to improve.

The most important thing is that we must know who our client is, the market is very wide and is made up of people with very diverse needs, it is extremely difficult if not impossible for a company, especially a SME (small and medium-sized company) to satisfy the needs of the entire market, for this reason we must know which segment (s) of the market are the ones we can best serve, and channel all our efforts towards this or these segments. As the saying goes "he who covers a lot little squeezes" that is; If we want to serve more market segments than we are capable of, we are not going to do it well. It is better to serve just one, but serve it so well that our competition cannot catch up with us.

To give an example, we can talk about a restaurant; Imagine that a young businessman has the capital to start his own business, and he decides to put a restaurant Since he worked for several years, while studying at a fast food chain, he has experience in the food and beverage area.

To determine the type of food that will be served, whether international, Mexican, Italian, or Japanese; and the site category; that is to say if it is a restaurant casual or formal, you must first define who your potential customers are and who are looking for the service you offer (this information can be obtained through a market study); Make it very clear that it must be in that order: 1. What does the customer want? 2.What kind of food will I offer?

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Assuming that the young man did a market study and realized that his potential clients are young professionals who work in the area, who want to have a menu well varied, to be able to have lunch or dinner there frequently (remember that it is close to your workplace) without getting bored, and that the Prices are accessible.

So what do I mean by having the absolute disposition to please the customer? Let's think for a moment about a situation that the young man could face: perhaps he had in his mind the idea of ​​putting a restaurant fast food, similar to the one he worked for, because he knows the operation, and yet he realized that the market needs something else.

Many times we make the mistake of doing what we consider best, without adequately informing ourselves of what the market wants and directing all our effort to the wrong place, resulting in a loss of resources.

It is our obligation to invest time and resources in knowing what our client wants in order to design the service to suit them, in any area of ​​services that we perform.
We often have the information available to us on what the market wants, and we only have to make a small effort to obtain it (for example, carry out a market study), however we continue to do what we do best, ignoring the signals that our clients give us. we resist change and do not want to leave our "comfort zone" and therefore do not get the results we want.

Many times, (most of them, I would think), satisfying our clients means changing the way we do things, evolving, continuing to do what we know but in a way that better satisfies the needs of our clients and that is why it is vital to break paradigms and overcome fear of change.
Continuing with the example, if the young man puts restaurant a menu according to the results of the market study, will continue to do what it knows, that is, it will continue to work in the area of ​​food and beverages, but in a different way, obviously this means more work: you must define a number Enough dishes to achieve a varied menu, which can also be offered at an affordable price, but that means pleasing the customer, designing the service according to their needs, seeking customer loyalty and, in addition, the success of their business.

Comfort: refers to having a good service, that is the first step to meet consumer expectations; but in addition, comforts must be provided to the client so that he is satisfied, the list of comforts that can be offered is extremely wide; It can be a friendly and trained staff that attends the customer with courtesy and efficiency, pleasant customer service centers, having enough points of sale, offering personalized services, among others. Each company should strive to know its customers, know which aspects of the service provide them with the greatest comfort and offer them.

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Returning to the example of the restaurant, the young entrepreneur, in addition to the menu, should consider aspects such as parking, the possibility of making a prior reservation, if it is located in a hot place that has air conditioning, if it is a cold place that has heaters, the type of music that their clients like that their furniture is comfortable in addition to being decorative, that the staff who attend is very courteous, that credit cards are accepted in order to always adapt the "comforts offered" to what the client is looking for.

In the service sector that each one of us is in, we can definitely implement or improve conditions that will make our clients feel more comfortable, in many cases it is enough to use common sense to know what we can do, we just have to answer a simple question: if If I were a client of my business, what would I like to find in the service that would make me feel more comfortable?

Communication: through this, the service to be sold is disclosed and promoted, which implies informing and persuading the buyer; according to Cobra (*): "it is the moment of seduction, which tries to enthuse the customer to buy the service." The ideal means to communicate the service are those that generate the greatest number of clients at the lowest cost.

In order to promote a service provided by an SME, the most important thing is to analyze where their clients are and what are the ideal means to reach them such as radio, Internet, magazines, direct marketing, etc.

Considering that the restaurant in our example is a place that is close to its target audience, in this case visual communication can be an effective means of reaching your customers, making a flyer with striking photographs of some dishes on the menu (the most requested by customers), which also describes some other dishes with text, it is convenient to include a special offer such as giving a dessert or a drink, in order to "enthuse" the person who sees it to visit the restaurant, and distribute them in the centers nearby work. Considering that this restaurant seeks to attract young professionals (medium and high income level), the flyer must have a suitable design, be printed in color, on good paper, etc.

There are definitely many ways to communicate our service to customers, the important thing when defining your company's communication strategies is evaluating the cost / benefit. It is important to check that our communication strategy is in line with the positioning that we want to achieve in our clients.

The cost: setting the price of finished goods is easier than with services, because goods are homogeneous products that are made under processes, that are repeated in the same way over and over again, the services, instead, are provided by people, and this means that the same service may vary depending on who provides it.

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Going back to the example of the restaurant to provide the service, you must hire waiters, and obviously there will be people who do their job better than others, however Prices In the menu they must be the same, this can make a customer get a very pleasant impression, and another who was served in the same restaurant does not think the same, because the attention they gave was not the most appropriate.

If you work in the service sector, you can reduce the differences by establishing a profile for hiring the Human Resource according to the qualities required for the specific position (punctuality, proactivity, service attitude, honesty or any other that you require), through staff training can also decrease the difference, if all people within the organization who hold the same position receive the same level of training, it is easier to somehow standardize the service.

However, it is important that the cost is not above the payment possibilities of our clients; and beware of this; It does not mean that the price of their service has to be low, but rather that the client feels that they have paid a fair price for the service received according to their expectations. It is important to know that the moment of truth is the moment in which our client confronts the expectations he has for our service; and that they were created by advertising, comments from people close to him, or what was said by a seller; with the service received and decide if it meets your need or not.

To always achieve a positive image of the company, we must be consistent with what we offer our clients through advertising or vendors and what the service really provides, so that the balance is always in our favor.

I am a dreamer and in my dreams I believe that a better world is possible, that no one knows more than anyone, we all learn from everyone. I love gastronomy, numbers, teaching and sharing all the little I know, because by sharing I also learn. "Let's all go together from foundation to success"
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