The concept of Flower of Service is critical in displaying different supplementary services as surrounding the core product. These supplementary services exist in the form of facilitating services and enhancing services. The components of the facilitating services in the Flower of Service chart include information, billing, payment, and order-taking. The components of enhancing services include consultation, safekeeping, exceptions, and hospitality.
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Within the Flower of Service, the facilitating supplementary services are instrumental in service delivery in the form of creating the link for value addition in the core product. Thus, this reflective treatise attempts to explicitly explain the concept of Flower of Service and identify each of the petals. Besides, the treatise provides an insight of the concept to service marketer. In addition, the paper summarizes personal opinion on the relevance of extended breakout of facilitating and enhancing services to all service offerings today.
The concept of Flower of Service
Borrowed from the nomenclature of a typical flower, the Flower of Service concept summarized the interaction between supplementary services existing in the form of facilitating services and enhancing services within the core product. The concept presents the facilitating services and enhancing services within the scope of their interaction to complete service marketing goals (Lovelock & Wirtz 2011). The supplementary services within the Flower of Service are discussed below.
The components of facilitating services include information, billing, payment, and order-taking. Under information, the elements such as physical directions, schedules, prices, instructions, warnings, reminders, confirmations, and conditions of services are listed. These elements interact to ensure that the quality of services meet the information provided to guarantee successful marketing.
The elements of order-taking include applications (subscription services and prerequisite activities), order entry components (website, telephone, and order fulfilment), and reservations (seats, equipment rental, admission facilities, and professional appointment). The billing elements include periodic account activity statements, invoices, machinery display, and self-billing. Among the elements within the payment function include self service (EFT, token, cash, and number in the credit card), intermediary (change giving, handling of debit cards, coupon redemption, and check handling), and automatic deductions such as human systems and other automated systems (Lovelock & Wirtz 2011).
The components of enhancing services include consultation, safekeeping, exceptions, and hospitality. The elements of consultation include technical consulting, customized services, and training to ensure that the concept of service marketing is all round and appropriate for each type of a service. On the other hand, hospitality elements include security, greetings, amenities, eateries, and transport.
The elements of safekeeping include taking care of customers’ possessions (child, pet, coats, baggage, and personal security), and taking care of rented of purchased goods by customers (pickup, delivery, installation, refuelling, upgrade, cleaning, repairs, and packaging). Lastly, the exception elements within the Flower of Service include handling advance special requests (dietary, disability, religious requirements, and needs of children), handling of exceptional communication (suggestions, complaints, compliments, and opinions), problem solving, and restitution (refunds, free services, monetary or other forms of compensation, and discounts) (Lovelock & Wirtz 2011). The concept of the Flower of Service is summarized in the figure below.
Insights of the Flower of Service concept for service marketers
As a condition for successful establishment of a service business, it is imperative of the service marketers to initiate a well researched plan for penetration and substance in order to transform the business into actual profitable venture, especially in the sensitive service industry. The main elements that should be reviewed by a service marketer include market penetration strategies, objectives and goals, likely competition, and general business environment (Kowalkowski, Kindstrom, & Brehmer 2011).
Therefore, the concept of Flower of Service is critical to service marketers since it endeavours to ensure trust and quality service to clients irrespective of the time of visit, observance of maximum business standards which must meet the set government standards for operating a service business, healthy relationship with customer through constant and continuous response irrespective of the nature of magnitude of the complaint or complement (Anderson & Narus 1995).
Through adoption of the Flower of Service concept, service marketers will be able to establish a two way communication framework and customer care initiative to address the concerns from the customers. The customer care initiative can double up as the public relations strategy in order to win and keep customers. As a result, the customers of a service establishment will develop a tight relationship with the business since they will perceive it as a caring establishment (Wu & Whinston 2008).
Relevance of extended breakout of facilitating and enhancing services to all service offerings today is as stable as it was a decade ago. In fact, service marketers may use the Flower of Service concept to develop attractive marketing mission statements based on the quality of the services. As a plan for realising such a mission, a service marketer may be in a position to create an eye catching positioning statements capturing the elements of quality, affordability, and reliably for a service business. Since most service businesses have similar customers, balancing supplementary services in the form of facilitating services and enhancing services may make the difference in sustainability, efficiency, and satisfaction as perceived by customers.
Anderson, J, & Narus, J 1995, “Capturing the values of supplementary services.” Harvard Business Review, vol.3, no. 1, pp. 75-83.
Kowalkowski, C, Kindstrom, M, & Brehmer, P 2011,”Managing industrial service offerings in global business markets.” Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 181-192.
Lovelock, C.H, & Wirtz, J, 2011, Services marketing: People, technology, strategy, McGraw Hill, New York.
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Wu, D, Ray, G, & Whinston, A 2008, “Manufacturers’ Distribution Strategy in the Presence of the Electronic Channel,” Journal of Management Information Systems, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 167–198.