Service marketing can be defined as a business that is based on the rendering of services and it is different from businesses that are based on the marketing of goods. The difference that exists between the two is that aside the normal combination of, product, price, place and promotion, people, process and physical evidence are taken into serious consideration. The marketing of services also involves appealing looks (aesthetics) or outside look of the organization or business venture, the interior, and the overall look of the workers. As a result of the drive or sift from industrial to economies that are service driven, this new form of marketing is gaining grounds.
Service is the acts of performing a duty on behave of someone. Services are not material, whereas products are, since they are felt and owned. Services are more or less experiences consumed at the spot or points of purchase; therefore they cannot be kept since they end where they are bought. One can go to a fast food outlet today and get wonderful services rendered, and then come back the following day and get an experience that is poor. Different terms have been defined as relating to the nature of service one which is the fact that service cannot be separated from two important factors namely, the service provider and the venue where the service is been offered. Secondly as it is obtainable with products, services cannot be felt they can only be experienced, thus it is described as been intangible. Another point of importance to note about services is that, it is impossible to have exactly the same experience that was obtained from a particular service offered. The quality of service might be the same, but the experience will differ since the degree to which an experience or service offered is felt is dependent on a bulk load of prevailing factors. Moses (1996, pp 23 -24)
Marketing on the other side can be defined as the movement of goods and services to the final consumers. The starting point of which is from the producers. The most important factor in this flow of goods and services is relationship and another factor of importance is value. Marketing can be characterized into two, service marketing and products marketing.
The Nobu restaurants chain
The Nobu chain which is a typical example of a service marketing organization owned by Matsuhisa, Matsuhisa started his training as a chef in Tokyo, where he was working as an apprentice in sushi bars after which he moved to Peru. In Peru he opened a sushi bar and was getting himself acquitted with South African Flavors’. After staying for a couple of years in South Africa he moved to Argentina and stayed for a year. His first restaurant was opened in Beverly Hills, Calif. In the process of his learning he developed a style of cooking that combined South African methods with Japans native cuisines. Today most of his cooking techniques are employed in the United State of America.
Service Employees and the Value of Service Firms: The Nobu secrete
Some years have passed now but words of one of my partners in the banking firm still echo in my head. We were given an assignment to carry out the audit of the banks marketing PR in California and make recommendations. He said the bank had two people in the PR section or department, who were responsible for answering queries, writing press releases and arranging events. The banks marketing head, new not what to do and as a result there was no plan since he was a trained accountant by profession. A lot of money was spent in making of company brochures, this they intend will go to places they cannot reach physically and help to market their services. But it was so unfortunate that this printed brochures were left in the closets untouched. There was inefficiency everywhere in the firm. The PR workers on the other hand too were not properly treated. I made my partner understand that, things could turn around if expenditures on brochures are cut down, and he refused making me understand that as long as the brochures keep making the profit grow no matter how small, he didn’t care and that was the end of our job. This is an illustration why it is very difficult to handle the marketing of services in organizations.
The departments responsible or saddled with the responsibility of marketing services for organizations such as restaurants, operates as units of production having little or no regard for strategy. PR is handled on a try and error basis, basically depending on what the partners want individually. That is why most of the times the attempts do well and other time they fail.
The Nobu chain of restaurants has a Service marketing secrete that is operated basically on commitment and consistency in their implementation of strategies. This secret has been employed by nobu chain in carrying out it services; they understand the importance of commitment and consistency. A customer entering into any of their stores for the first time is likely to come back after a year or two and have the same experience he had the first time of visiting. This singular act of consistency on the part of the service employee of the Nobu chain of restaurants has in the past years enhanced the company’s revenues, this is because the clients are indirectly encourage to return after a first experience. Charles (2000, pg. 35) agrees with the nobu restaurant chain owner Matsuhisa’s on the value of service saying,
“You can serve the best food in the world, but if there’s an idiot at the door to greet you and the service is bad, and there’s horrible design, then nobody’s going to come.”
Service blueprinting has been defined in different ways by different schools of thought. It was proposed by Shostack. The service blue print permits the quantitative analysis of elements of service that are critical. Examples of such elements are: time, and a logical arrangement of actions. It also identifies both the action that occurred and the exact time it occurred, oftentimes indicating the place of action. Service blueprinting has to do with describing completely various activities that are involved in the designing process, the process of managing services and the plans of the project. This service marketing model will enable the keep focus and increasingly win more clients in its target age group.
An integrated outlook of the relationship that exists between the company and its clients is expressed by this model. This view is arrived at through research embarked upon by a good number of companies that are in the business of service provision. The model expresses the perception gap and the factors that bring about this gap. Thus the service that the customers are expecting is a direct function of communication through the word of mouth, and a recollection of experiences in the past. The perceived service is a function of the service delivered and the communication to consumers. Some of the factors that result to the creation of these gaps are: poor focus on relationship, poor orientation of market research, poor planning and design of service, and poor service leadership. When properly applied the model will the Nobu group avoid the loss of customers, since day in day out information’s are collected and implemented in improving customer satisfaction.
Effect of Service Failure
The ability to evaluate and identify the various factors that result to the failure of service is expressed by this model. This is enhanced by collecting various data on customer response to service rendered and strict attention is given to the causative factors that are internal. Measures taken to avoid future occurrence are express within the context of this model. Companies operating in the service business as the Nobu Chain can effectively make use of the methods of analysis offered by this model, to reduce the occurrence of service failure.
Nobu restaurants chain: Service chain Value assessment
The basic concept behind value chain on the practice view of Nobu chain of restaurants, is the ideal of viewing the company or chain as a system, consisting of subsystems each making up of input, processes and output. This has to do with the buying and utilization of all the different forms of resources, for example materials in the form of buildings, funds, the people available to work and the materials with which they will perform their duties with.
The Nobu chain of restaurants is involved in various activities aimed at the conversion of all forms of inputs to output. They ensure that every subsection or subsystem of the brand keeps operating with quality, relationship, hard work etc, as their watchword. They ensure in their marketing and sales that clients get exactly what those in PR advertise or preach and responding accordingly to customer queries. In general the operations of the firm can be termed effective from acquiring of resource, to processing and service delivery. This conversion activities can be classified into two broad categories namely the primary and the secondary conversion activities. According to Charles (2000, pg.67) the primary activities include:
- Inbound logistics – this has to do with the relationship of Nobu restaurant chain with suppliers of various products for their production. All the activities that are carried out from the reception of the goods, to their storage and final dissemination.
- Operations – this deals with the activities that are utilized in the transformation of inputs.
- Outbound logistics – this has to do with all the activities Nobu restaurant chain employ in collecting, keeping and final distribution of their output.
- Marketing and sales – this form of activities tells the prospective buyers about the product they are about to purchase or the service they are expected to receive. When properly delivered these activities encourage the buyer to buy.
- Service – this has to do with the effective working of the services rendered or products that are obtained from the firm and the activities that are required to keep them working.
And the secondary activities include:
- Procurement – this is the purchasing of resources on behave of the company
- Human Resource management – this has to do with the activities that are involved in the training of staff for Nobu restaurant chain, it involves development and when necessary the laying off of workers.
- Technological Development – this has to do with the different forms of technology the company utilizes in the conversion of inputs to final products.
Creativity, design and innovation
When Matsuhisa commissioned his first restaurant in Peru, what he created was new or better said unique- the food was made of high quality with ingredients that were fresh, and served in a way that was appealing to the customers. Quality was his watch word and till date quality is still the watch word of the brand. This has differentiated Nobu from others in the business.
One of the least understood form of human thinking is creativity. The ability of an individual to use different methods that are unconventional to explore different solutions that are innovative is referred to as creativity. This ideal has been supported in the work of Moses (1996, pg.34). This can also be said to be the ability to express ones extraordinary thoughts, affecting realities perception critically, resulting to the development of new innovations. Day in day out the Nobu chain of restaurants create and execute innovations that make clients want to visit. Every new store of Nobu that is opened is always an experience that customer are willing to pay for.
Information Flow Modeling
The Nobu chain of restaurants always utilize every opportunity available to collect, evaluate and use customer related data, this help in determining how well the chain is fairing. This information’s have helped the brands growth in the past years. Business intelligence is not a monopoly of companies’ relationship with customers, but it involves accumulation of knowledge from any data collected on the consumers, such as those collected within the organization and external. For example considering supply chain relationship between Nobu chain of restaurants and suppliers of products. There is hidden business knowledge that can be obtained from evaluating all details of all the business interaction, this also include the measurement of the sensitivity of vendors to request that are made, the time of response, the delivery method, contractual agreements compliance. All this have been exploited by Nobu chain in enhancing its growth. In order to extract this intelligence the company makes use of the knowledge of implementation of their policies.
A lot of evidence has been given to show that innovation is the key factor in the progress and the maximization of profits by Noble chain of restaurants. New models of innovation or open innovation as they are so called, are making Nobu restaurant chain take a deeper look in the management of innovation, generally it is accepted that such models implementation result in better performance of innovation. This field of research still in its infantry stage is growing in numerous directions, and the ongoing discussions cover a wide variety of areas Allen (2005, pg.15). The general objective of this is to see how Nobu restaurant chain can improve on their innovativeness.
As a result of reform programs embarked upon by the chain and competition that is experienced, Nobu restaurant chain is on a watch out for new models of innovation to gain advantage competitively and to enhance performance. For the models to be implemented decisions need to be taken on strategy from the management. Strategy has to do with the performance of various activities differently from those of rivals. This go hand in hand with risk taking, this is because the behavior of the final consumer cannot be predicted. There is another source of risk that is associated with strategy but it comes from outside of the organization, but this result from uncertainties that are hovering over internal abilities. As it is oppose to strategy, the execution is carried out totally in the company. And it is all about making all the choices. It has to do with the manner in which the people those that are operating in an organizational setting put together materials to make strategy work. According to some schools of thought, the methods that are used in implementation in one company will produce different results if applied in another Company. This is to say that execution results, like strategy cannot be predicted.
The basic secret of service marketing of most organizations that succeed at the trade is consistency and commitment. The presence in a strategy of consistency tends to establish or associate an organization with expertise more than an insight that will be seen as brilliant, as it can be observed from the operations of Nobu restaurant chain. Few person working in organizations ever have insights that call the shorts, those who have insights that are earth shaking hardly can keep thinking deeply for a long time. Being Committed and consistent to service will establish an organization for a long time. The problem is always on how consistency can be established in an inconsistent atmosphere or environment. One of the answers is to take the environment and accept it the way it is. That is doing everything possible to adapt to the prevailing conditions. Several efforts have been made to alter the methods used by service business in marketing, meetings and meetings have been organized with little results coming out of such gatherings. It is clearly obvious that programs that are aimed at improving advertisement, that don’t utilize inputs from professionals in the service business often time add to the awareness but in the same measure add to noise. The consistency secret is strictly based on designing a program that suits the practitioners work, way of life and schedules, and get the maximum commitment of the professional or practitioner. This involves a thorough analysis of the behavior of the individual that is involved and the business he or she is involved in, this will help in finding out the things the individual can implement easily and stress free. What is termed service marketing secret is actually not a secret. What it entails is holding unto a process till the process works, it is more of been committed than that of been creative. The basic role of PR practitioners is to research and discover what individuals will do with little impact and to assign programs to them in such a way that the overall plan or strategy is not altered. This is an achievable but difficult task. The publication of articles as this in journals will help organization seeking to improve their service delivery.eg Harvard Business Review, Journals in Marketing, and publication in business magazines.
Allen, J., 2005. Collecting And interpreting innovation Data. 4th ed. Brussels: Aneck.
Charles, M., 2000.Service and Innovation.2nd ed. Accra: Benkos.
Moses, H., 1996.Human Resource Management.6th ed. Nigeria: Unikh.