Many studies have shown that physical environments, also termed servicescapes have played an important role in affecting service experience, determining consumers’ behavior and attitude when the consumers are using the service (Bitner, 1992; Siddiqui and Tripathi ). In this position paper, I will illustrate how the servicescape affect the behavior of the customer and their satisfaction.
As we might find that most of the studies mention that the servicescape is very important, we might argue that whether servicescape is a core product or supporting product when providing a service.
This paper begins by defining servicescape. Secondly, I will illustrate the importance of servicescape. Thirdly, it goes on to think about whether servicescape is the main factor for the industry success or not. Following this, it will illustrate how to manage servicescape in different sectors of the hospitality industry. It then considers whether the service provider should pay a serious attention to the servicescape. Finally, it will end with a conclusion and my point of view.
From various sources, the term ‘servicescape’ refers to the physical environment such as overall layout, design, ambience, artifacts and décor. It even includes atmosphere such as music, colors and lighting. Those components are very important when creating a service experience (Namasivayam and Lin, 2010; Lia,at al, 2009; Bitner, 1992).
A service “product” includes both tangible and intangible parts. (Namasivayam and Lin, 2010). And service quality will be determined by these two elements (Johnston,1995; Parasuraman et al, 1985). The servicescape is a tangible element which is playing a very important role and the service manager should not overlook of it (Lia et al, 2009).
The ways that employees and customers act could be affected by servicescape. (Siddiqui and Tripathi, n.d.)
Bitner (1992) has suggested to group the components of servicescapes as: (1) ambient conditions: temperature, air quality, noise, music, and odor; (2) space/function: layout, equipment, and furnishings; (3) signs, symbols, and artifacts: signage, personal artifacts, and style of décor. However, Lin (2004) classified the dimensions of servicescapes into three major groups of ‘cues’: (1) visual cues: colour, lighting, space and function, personal artifacts, ;ayout and design; (2) auditory cues: music and noise; and (3) olfactory cues: scents.
Nevertheless, we should know that different service industries have their own servicescape. (Ezeh & Harris, 2007).
IS SERVICESCAPE THE MAIN FACTOR FOR THE INDUSTRY SUCCESS?
From those academic article and journal, we may find that servicescape is very important that it may affect the satisfaction and cognition of the customers. And also affect the intention of their patronization. Moreover, it will either enhance or restrain the patrons’ emotions ( Wakefield and Blodgett,1994).
Wakefield and Blodgett (1994) said that servicescape must be designed as to let the patrons feel satisfied with the service. Patrons do not like to feel uncomfortable, confined and restricted.
The service provider should pay attention to what servicescape they have provided. It is because the customers’ feeling and emotion will be affected by the quality of the servicescape and even the time that the customers are going to spend on a service. Moreover, the customers’ decision to use the service or buy the product again is also affected by the servicescape. So if the service provider has provided a high quality servicescape, it will be a main factor to gain success in the industry, by positive word of mouth of the customers and repeat purchase.
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Figure 1: Factors Infuending Repart Purchase Behaviour
From figure 1, it have been illustrated that if the perceived quality of servicescape is high then it will increase the excitement of the customer and the customers may feel satisfy to the service or product. The enduring involvement in purchase or using the service will be increased and the time that customer spend on observing and experiencing the servicescape might be increased. After that the customers’ intention of repeat purchase will be increased. (Wakefield and Blodgett, 1994; Siddiqui and Tripathi, n.d. )
Therefore, the service provider should pay more attention on the quality and the management of servicescape as to gain more profit of their company, gain a competitive advantage and achieved strategic marketing goals. The service provider should recognize that the servicescape may become an important component of the marketing strategy. (Siddiqui and Tripathi, n.d. )
Since we might find that the servicescape is playing a very important role on providing a service and the service provider should try their best to provide a higher quality of servicescape. Is servicescape the main factor for the industry success?
From Wakefield and Blodgett (1994), they have argued that not every service provider is going to play lot of attention on the servicescape to attract the customer and to gain an industry success. It is because not every hospitality industry is relay on what the servicescape they have been provide to gain a competitive advantage. In different sector of the hospitality industry, the service provide might have different attitude to manage the servicescape and different design of servicescape.
For example, Wakefield and Blodgett (1994) mentioned that the servicescape of the leisure services is different with the servicescape of functional services. As figure 2 that I have shown below, we can see what are their different. For functional services, for example, health clinics, schools and hospitals, the importance of servicescape is lower than those leisure services, for example, upscale restaurants and amusement parks. Moreover, we can find that the time that the customer is going to spent in the facility is lower, the importance of servicescape might become lower too. If the time that the customer is going to spent in the facility longer, they might willing to experience the servicescape. For instance, individuals who go to miniature golf or any place for entrainment are likely to evaluate how nice the place is, the atmosphere, the layout and the design for the place and service. One of the purposes that they go to the facility is to experience the facility environment and they will be more involved to the service encounter.
However, for those functional services, for example go to the school. The main purpose is to learn something. So whatever how the servicescape is, the user will not play much attention on it. If the school is providing some outstanding teacher, whatever how the servicescape is, there are also lots of people are willing to go to that school Moreover, for hospital, it is a place for immediate need, whatever, how the design and layout the hospital is, the user will mainly focus on can they get a help on their sickness.
Figure 2: The Importance of Servicescape in Leisure Service Settings
Source: Wakefield and Blodgett, 1994.
According to what we have mentioned before, we might find that in different sector of the hospitality industry, there might have different scale of the importance of servicescape and playing different role.
For example, what the servicescape might be providing in a five stars hotel is totally different with the three stars hotel. On a five stars hotel, their selling point of the hotel is there design, facilities and atmosphere etc. The customer of a five stars hotel is to gain a great experience on the servicescape. For instance, in W Hotel Hong Kong, the selling point of this hotel is to provide a world of sensory experiences, the hotel have put a lot of attention on the servicescape. Special lighting, signatures scents, art and music as to attract the customer a special environment experience (W Hotel Worldwide, 2010)
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However, on a three stars hotel, for example, the Bridal Tree House Hotel in Hong Kong, the layout of the hotel is not very gorgeous, the service provider are not mainly focus on the servicescape cause the customer of these kind of hotel is to have a lower price of stay. When the customer decides to stay in a three stars hotel, their main purposes is not to enjoy the servicescape. Of course, the servicescape is one of the elements of providing the service but it is not the core product of the service. It is only the supporting product. Servicescape is not that important in a three stars hotel than a five stars hotel.
Furthermore, as we have mentioned that the servicescape is very important in creating a good impact when providing a service. Lia, et al (2009) argue that if the servicescape failure occurs, it will lead to some bad consequences. At this moment, servicescape might not be the main factor for an industry success. If servicescape failure occurs, customer might tend to experience negative emotions such as dissatisfaction and anger. At last it will build up negative word of mouth of the company or some complain. The unpleasant servicescape will diminish the customer’s satisfaction (Leong et al, 1997) Service failure would lead to issues of service delivery, service product, service facility, the behavior of the employee and the customer or a combination of these. (Bitner et al., 1990).
Lia, et al (2009) point out that servicescape failure can significantly diminish perceptions of service performance and evoke feelings of dissatisfaction.
This position paper identified the servicescape is usually playing an important role. The behavior of the customers and their satisfaction to the service is related to the servicescape.
As we have mentioned that providing a high quality servicescape is an important factor to gain a competitive advantage. We might find that servicescape is not playing the same important role at all the service, company or the hospitality industry. In different sector of the industry, the customer might have different expectation to the servicescape that they can receive. However, even servicescape in some of the industry sector is not playing an important role than the other industry sector. From my point of view, servicescape is still the main factor for most of the industry success. I can’t say all of the industry but most of them! Even in some type of industry, the customer might not play much attention on the servicescape but not meaning that they might not play attention on it. Since servicescape is the physical environment of an organization. Servicescape is necessary in our life. Servicescape is playing an important role.
Lia, C.B., Othman, M., Chern, B.H., Ab.Karim, M.S. and Ramachandran, S. (2009) “Customers’ Reaction to Servicescape Failure and Associated Recovery Strategy: An Exploratory Study in the Food Service Industry”, Journal of Tourism, Hospitality & Culinary Arts, pp. 23-47.
This paper is written as a conclusion of a servicescape failure research study. The main purpose of the article is to discover the influence of servicescape failure and what can be done to solve the problem as a service recovery. Moreover, the author has illustrated the effectiveness of those recovery strategies. Also, the author has pointed out why the servicescape failure is occur and what is the meaning of servicescape failure. From this paper, the author has classified the servicescape failure into four categories and classifies five major recovery categories. Furthermore, the author has find out the most effective recovery strategy are action-oriented responses and sincere empathetic-oriented responses. In this article, the critical Incident Technique (CIT) (Flanagan, 1954) has been used as a qualitative research tool to estimate customer dissatisfaction in servicescape and whether they think the recovery is effective or not. A major strength of the article is that the study has successfully collected the detail descriptions of the experience of servicescape failure and service recovery from the informants. As to provide reliable information to analysis the researches study. It is relevance to the topic.
Wakefield, K. L. and Blodgett, J. G.. (1994) “The Importance of Servicescapes in Leisure Service Settings”, Journal of Service marketing, 8(3), pp.66-76.
This article is conceptual. The purpose of this article is to estimate how different servicescape affect consumers’ perception and their satisfaction when they are enjoying the leisure service. Also, find out whether the consumer will repeat to use the service. Moreover, the author has observed how servicescape affect the excitement of the consumers. The major strength of this article is that it has drawn out how important the servicescape is and it has an implication on management and provides the recommendation to have a conclusion of the article. Also, the author has pointed out the different importance of servicescape between functional services and leisure service. Let the audience have a clear understanding. It is highly relevant to my topic because it has point out what different servicescape have been used in different sector of the hospitality industry and why they are different.
Grace, D. and O’Cass, A. (2004) “Examining service experiences and post-consumption evaluations”, Journal of Services Marketing,
This article is conceptual. It has based on the result of the research to given some hypothesized which are related to the service experience and the consumption of the consumer. The hypothesis was addressed based on the design and management of the survey. Moreover, the purposeful sampling technique has been used. The author has mainly focus to talk about how core service, employee service and servicescape affect the consumers’ service experience. And also point out the importance and impact of these three main parts. This paper has draw out the importance of the service experience that the consumers have gain. The article is mainly written for the manager to recognize the strong consequence of service experience and how they can work on it and improve the service quality. However, the limitation of this article is that the research has been conducted in one shopping mall only, so the summarization may be limited.
Siddiqui, M. H., & Tripathi, S. N. (n.d.) “Application of Soft Operations Research for Enhancing the Servicescape as a Facilitator”, pp. 1-16.
This is a discussion paper. It has discussed the application of soft operation research.
In this paper, the author has used two soft operation research methodologies which are soft system methodology (SSM) and strategic choice approach (SCA) to enhance the servicescape as a facilitator. For SSM, it is help for problem solving. For SCA, it is help for the decision making. Also, this method can use to improve the strategic decision making process. Moreover, the article has draw out that servicescape is paying an important role by affecting the consumers’ satisfaction and service experience. This article is mainly written for the marketer to suggest them a method to improve the servicescape as to have a better creation and management on servicescape and at last to help them to achieve their marketing goal and gain a industry success. The major strength of this article is that it has suggested the useful methodologies for the marketers. However, I think the content of this paper is quite complicated that I need to use a lot of time to understand the meaning of it.
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