Chapter12: Services: The Intangible Product
Describe how the marketing of services differs from the marketing of products.
Discuss the four gaps in the Service Gaps Model.
Examine the five service quality dimensions.
Explain the zone of tolerance concept.
Identify three service recovery strategies.
that the life cycle for some products and services is relatively steep. In that
chapter, we talked about how much faster DVDs diffused compared with VCRs. In a similar sense,
televisions diffused somewhat slowly, until they eventually reached the maturity stage. Personal
computers have moved along this life cycle much more quickly and now appear in approximately as many
homes as do televisions. But what do these product life cycles have to do with this chapter on services?
Plenty, if you are involved in the manufacture or sale of those personal computers.
As anyone who has ever confronted the “blue screen of death” or an incomprehensible error message—
usually on the last page of the paper you were writing—can attest, technical difficulties are terribly
frustrating. Perhaps even more frustrating are the hours invested on the telephone, trying to reach a
customer service representative, who may or may not be able to help.
Even in this challenging situation, 90 percent of Apple customers report they are very satisfied with its
customer service. Part of the reason for this high satisfaction may stem from the product itself; because
Apple is less subject to viruses than PCs, consumers may not need customer service as often. More likely
though, it results from Apple's efforts to assist Mac, iPod, iPad, and iPhone owners. On purchasing a new
Apple, customers may also sign up for “One-to-One” service for $99. In return, they may make
appointments for individual assistance with an Apple representative, as many times as they wish, over the
course of the following year. Even without buying this upgrade, Apple owners can visit the Apple site and
make an appointment with a technician or “Genius” in a local Apple store. If an Apple fan has no store
nearby, he or she can look for help online, whether through Apple's own problem solutions or on
discussion groups that cover a range of potential problems.
Despite its customer service success, Apple still disappoints about 10 percent of its customers. Its
research shows that most customer service failures occur because of confusion about product warranties.
In the fine print, customers can discover that water damage or abuse voids any product warranty. Not a
lot of water, and not an absurd amount of abuse, but any of either. An iPod might stop working because
just a drop of water, falling from the headphones, travels down the cord and enters into the jack. This
situation infuriates customers, many of whom treat their Apple products with great care. And it is