What do you want to sell – products or services? Part 3

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In the previous post, I described the layers of the product. Let me remind you that there were three: core product (car – getting from point A to point B), actual product (car – color, number of doors, top speed, etc.), extended product (car – you will feel comfortable and safe, etc.). In the case of product-type goods, it is quite easy to establish these layers for your product range and use these terms in your communication with customers.

So, if you want to sell LEGO bricks, ties, cars, refrigerators and so on… read about it in the last part of the paper.

However, if you are thinking about services, the matter is a bit more complicated. A service can be described in terms of 4 layers. First, the core of a service – the simplest activity that is associated with the service. For example, think of the core of a service offered at a hairdressing establishment.

Figure 1. Layers of service

What does a hairdresser do? Yes, you have a good association. A barber cuts hair. He can, of course, do a lot more – coloring, styling, shaving (beard) and the like, but still, imagine a barber who does everything but cut hair. There isn’t one, is there?

In every service offered by any company, there is some core of service that, if well defined, can become the company’s mission statement or the motto by which the company operates. Remember the slogan “Connecting people” of Nokia or “Absolutely, certainly, within 24 hours (we deliver shipments – author’s note)”. of the airline company “Federal Express”? That’s the point – to concisely express the activity we offer as a service.

Unfortunately, I know from my experience working in large institutions that the larger the company or organization, the easier it is for the meaning of the services it offers to get lost. A typical Polish example is that of universities, which very often multiply activities for the benefit of society, the business environment, government institutions or administration, and forget that they are service “companies” with two main services to perform: to teach students and to conduct research. In small companies, due to limited resources (human, capital, etc.) it is much easier for employees and owners to focus on the most important thing – the main service through which they make money.

Second, there is a layer in the description of the service called the basic version of the service. This is the actual service performed, either according to some accepted pattern (such as replacing tires on a car) or the customer’s idea (renovating an apartment). Let’s continue with the example of a hairdressing establishment – the basic service is to bring the hair to the style that the customer has in mind or that we have in the catalog. The basic version is often cataloged and priced. It is worth following this example and in your business also describe several basic versions of the service, this helps in business management.

Third – the service expected. You may ask – why do I need such a basic service, like hair arranged and in color as in the photo in the catalog? Probably to make a good impression on someone, to feel good, to be comfortable with their care. Immediately, however, we may ask the question, why should it make a good impression on someone? And here comes the final, fourth layer of service – potential service, that is, the potential effect you can create in a customer by selling them… a basic service, based on the core of the service, i.e. a haircut. What effect? The customer may make a new close acquaintance, get a job, be admired and remembered at a party, etc.

Once you’ve defined the layers of your service, which one do you think you’ll use to communicate with customers, use for an advertising slogan or distinguish yourself from the competition?

You will find the answer in the following blog posts.