Service Management and Marketing
IN THIS SUMMARY
The service sector has substantially impacted the U.S. economy, generating 44 million new jobs in the past three decades and softening the effects of every recession since World War II. Added value has moved from the factory to the moments of truth-the interactions between the customer and the various resources of the organization. This new service competition, described as a "game between persons,'' required an understanding of the nature of service production, consumptions, and the rules for managing in this environment.Four basic characteristics can be identified for most services: (1) They are more or less intangible. (2) They are activities or a series of activities rather than objects. (3) To some extent, they are produced and consumed simultaneously. (4) And, to some extent, the customer participates in the production process. Because of the intangible and subjective nature of service, quality of service must be defined by customer perception.In spite of the obvious benefits of improving quality, many quality programs fail. Normally, this results from taking the wrong approach and viewing quality enhancement as a program rather than an ongoing process of behavior. Thus, services must be carefully designed before they are produced.