This is arguably the most special characteristic of service products and is the most difficult characteristic to appreciate (Hoffman & Bateson, 2009). This is because services are highly perishable as compared to products. The challenge comes when a person asks themselves how, for instance, the services of a taxi company are considered to be more perishable than, say, fresh vegetables and food products. The main reason of this highly perishable nature is the fact that, unlike many physical products, most of the services cannot be stored. For example, if an airline fails to sell some seats on a particular flight, then those seats and subsequently the sales revenue is lost. This is an irreversible loss incurred immediately the plane takes off. Service providers should thus ensure that they sell their services in a timely manner to avoid the risk of them perishing and incurring a loss.
Physical products are usually displayed in stores for customers to see, touch, weigh or even sniff before making a purchase (Hoffman & Bateson, 2009). For services, however, the physical attributes of the service cannot be experienced (Hoffman & Bateson, 2009). An individual choosing a service, say a massage, cannot feel, touch, or smell the service before making a purchase. The only option that the person has is to make an assessment of the service based on word of mouth, past experience or just take a leap of faith before making the purchase. This intangible nature of a majority of the services gives rise to problems for both suppliers and consumers when selling and buying services.
In the production, marketing and selling of physical products, companies can observe and maintain consistency on such product features as packaging and quality to ensure products remain uniform (Hoffman & Bateson, 2009). For example, regardless of one’s physical location, the customer is always assured that the bottle of Pepsi they ...
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