Marketing Mix: People, Process, and Physical Evidence
- Physical evidence
People refer to those who work in the company and help in carrying out daily operations. In a narrower definition, it relates to staff who deal directly with customers.
Staff is vital. In service businesses such as hospitality and retail, they are considered the product itself. This is because they are the ones who deliver services to customers.
Why are people important?
Business needs quality people to deal with customers. They can create a positive effect on the company’s image and reputation.
Staff manages customer relations. They interact directly with customers. Thus, customer satisfaction will be highly dependent on the services they provide. If they provide quality services, customers are satisfied. They will be happy to deal with the company in the future.
- Customer relationship is how the company deals with its customers, which is essential to improve customer experience and to foster long-term relationships.
Satisfied customers will continue to flow money to the company. They will come back using company products. In addition, they can make other positive contributions, for example, by recommending products to their family or friends. They may also provide positive reviews on social networks or chat applications, which can quickly spread and become viral. Or some provide constructive feedback.
Long story short, people in the marketing mix are essential in:
- Increasing the number of customers
- Boosting the dollar spent by consumers
- Encouraging repeat visits by customers
- Driving more referrals to company products
Examples where staff deal with customers
There are many cases where employees have to deal directly with customers. Take, for example, personal selling. Salespeople interact directly with customers. Therefore, they must have personal qualities. Product knowledge and persuasive skills are among what they must master.
Staff must also show attitudes, skills, and attractive appearances. They are not just persuading consumers to order products, but they must also be friendly. In addition, they need to explore the consumers’ needs and explain how the company’s products can satisfy them.
These factors – physical appearance and personal qualities – will affect consumer judgment. And if consumers judge positively, they will be willing to buy.
Take customer service as another case. Employees provide expertise and technical support to customers. They answer customer questions through face-to-face, telephone, email, and social media interactions. Their qualities are determined by aspects such as:
- Patience and understanding
- Attitudes to prioritize people
How staff handles customers can affect the company’s reputation. If they do it well, it adds value and builds customer emotional ties to company services in the future.
Some aspects are considered in building customer satisfaction through people in the organization, including:
Appearance – Uniform shows professionalism. And customers will see it as cohesiveness and togetherness. In addition, they judge how staff presents themselves before interacting, creating the first impression and expectations.
Skills and attitudes – Staff have the quality in providing services well because service satisfaction is closely related to how they interact with customers. This quality can be related to persuasive skills and product knowledge. In addition, empathy and willingness to hear and understand are other elements. Skills in managing emotions are also necessary because they deal with many customers with different characters.
Efficiency and effectiveness – Companies will get a good reputation if expert staff provide services without error. In addition, they value customer time by providing fast and appropriate services.
Sociability – Social skills are key because the staff is dealing with humans, not objects, which both have emotions. These skills make people feel accepted and appreciated.
Customer service determines customer satisfaction. Good service leads to satisfaction. As a result, customers will be more likely to return to using company services in the future.
If the company consistently provides superior services, it will lead to loyalty. That’s important. Loyal customers will continue to use the same services and are reluctant to switch to competitors.
In addition, they are also willing to recommend people around them or others, for example, by posting on social media. In the end, loyalty will increase sales and profits.
Maximizing customer satisfaction
There are several ways to maximize satisfaction and encourage customer loyalty, including:
Recruitment and selection. Satisfying customers must start from the beginning, namely recruitment. Companies must fill organizations with the best quality people to ensure high standards.
Training. Trained staff will provide high standards. Training facilitates them to improve their personal qualities by getting new skills and knowledge. Training is not only for functional skills but also self-management, special knowledge, emotional, cooperation, and social skills.
After-sales service. The company provides additional services after customers buy, including:
- Product use training
- Installation support
- Product improvement
They all add value to the product, which makes customers happy because they benefit other than the products they pay for.
Customer complaints procedure. The company must have guidelines for how employees must handle complaints well. The procedure for specifying who should take, how to process it, and how long it should be done.
When complaints are handled properly, customers will happily deal with the company. As a result, they will be more likely to return to using company products. In addition, handling complaints effectively also reduces negative publicity, which can damage the company’s reputation.
Process is a procedure or something a company does to deliver services to customers. In short, the process is how the service is provided. It includes the company’s systems, procedures, steps, and actions.
How the service is delivered is crucial because it affects customer satisfaction. This is because services are produced and consumed at the same time. Thus, the process becomes part of what is paid for by consumers.
Clearly defined and efficient processes support service quality. Customers immediately get what they want when interacting with companies. They don’t have to wait for a long time.
For example, when you go to the barber, you want the barber to serve you immediately without waiting in long queues.
Likewise, when you are in a restaurant, you want the waiter to greet you immediately and deliver the menu. After you order, the waiter immediately comes to deliver your dish. On the other hand, if you wait a long time to get your food, frustration is bound to arise.
Why is the process crucial?
Process is important for several reasons, including:
- Influence the customer experience during dealings with the company
- Contribute to how efficient and effective operations are
- More clarity in dealing with customers.
- Deliver consistent service
Business processes such as payment methods, waiting times, customer complaint service, and after-sales service determine whether the customer is satisfied with the company’s services.
Types of process
Process includes many different activities. However, they are generally divided into two:
- Direct activities include those related to handling and interacting with customers. These activities may be provided by staff directly. An example is a bank’s front-line staff. Alternatively, they are delivered through tools such as mobile banking apps. They add value directly when consumers experience the service.
- Indirect activities include various back office areas. They don’t deal directly with customers. Instead, they support service before, during, and after it’s done. In a bank, for example, they cover areas such as technology, accounting, risk management, and personnel management.
Businesses can create advantages through effective and efficient processes by:
Simplify processes – simple processes are easy for customers to understand and carry out, for example, when they register in a mobile banking application. In addition, simplified processes can reduce costs and minimize unnecessary activity.
Creating comfort – making customers comfortable throughout the process – for example, by giving them appreciation, recognition, and respect – will create a positive impression. In another example, banks create convenience for customers by offering mobile banking applications to access several services without coming to the bank office. Instead, customers can do it anywhere and anytime through the application.
Reduce waiting time – Time is precious. The longer customers wait to receive service, the greater their opportunity cost.
Advances in technology facilitate more efficient and effective processes. How technology contributes to improving the customer experience can cover several areas, including:
Order process. In retail, for example, new technologies facilitate more efficient ordering processes, including those related to payment processing and self-service checkout. Customers can also order without standing in line, like at the store.
Communication process. Companies can communicate with customers more easily through, for example, live chat and an FAQ page on their website. Or they manage social media pages to interact with customers.
Delivery process. Technology connects information in different areas, from ordering to production to product delivery. When an order arrives, the data instantly goes to the next section for processing. As a result, it shortens the cycle time. In addition, the company provides an online tracking system to make customers easier to see how far their order has been processed.
Complaint handling and customer support processes. They can more quickly go through features like live chat on the website. Live chat is usually accompanied by a chatbot to provide common solutions. And if a customer has a special problem, they can chat directly with the staff.
Physical evidence is the physical environment experienced by the customer when using the service. Examples include:
- Waiting room or building layout and design
- User experience design (UX) and user interface design (UI) for websites and mobile applications
- Staff tidiness
- Furniture, lighting, color, and atmosphere
- Parking and toilet facilities
The elements above affect customer emotions when using company services. Often, potential customers make judgments about a service based on physical evidence before even using it at all.
For example, when a consumer is about to choose a restaurant, menus and online reviews create an impression. In addition, they look at aspects such as interior design, ambiance, and other physical environments. For example, they are willing to come if the restaurant is clean.
Physical evidence creates expectations and impressions about the experience offered by the company. It becomes even more vital when the customer has never used the service.