Services are not Products...

As a marketing guy that has spent most of his life marketing services, I have always wondered at the term "productized service".  And everytime someone wants to make services more real, they always use the "productize" term.  The following is an excerpt from an excellent book written by Harry Beckwith over 15 years ago called "Selling the Invisible"
A product is tangible.  You can see it and touch it.  A service, by contrast, is intangible.  In fact, a services does not even exist when you buy one.  If you go to a salon, you cannot see, touch, or try out a haircut before you buy it.  You order it.  Then you get it.
In many cases, services are purchased based upon "feel" -- the buyer just gets a better feeling with one service provider over another.  Think about it from your personal life, did you ever decide to change doctors or insurance agents because they just didn't feel right to you?  And how do you now if the service you're getting is really worth the money?  I'm paying lots of money for three kids to have straight teeth, could I have gotten their teeth straight for half the price - would I have choosen an orthodontist that was "cheap"? 
As I've mentioned before, I've been a "product" manager, marketing manager and sales guy for my entire life.  The majority of that time has been with service companies - some of them sold products, but some didn't.  In the pure services companies, those that really got what services was all about, understood that the primary difference between a service company that survives and one that doesn't is being willing to "put your money where your mouth is".  In other words, you are willing to do the job, for the price you quoted - and if things go wrong [which they sometimes do], you will do whatever it takes to make it right.  In some cases, that means putting more people on the job, in others it means stepping aside and helping the customer find another service provider [and possibily paying for the cleanup].

More on this subject later...


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