Why services can help the small time retailer differentiate

There isn’t a product that’s completely a ‘pure’ product. All products have some element of service implications that go along. These implications could either be before, during or after the sale of a product. Now that must be relief to marketers who are constantly exposed to the risk of commoditization. It’s the ‘services’ that can bail them out. It’s the service implications that can help them differentiate.

I was unfortunate enough to be involved in a collision today, the aftermath of which had my car look like a boxer with a flattened nose. The ‘front’ end my car was boxed in, post collision. An immediate visit to the Santro service station didn’t produce the kind of service I was looking for. Maybe it was because I was driving a half a decade old 'base model' Hyundai Santro. Talk about professors ever hitting the pecking order when it comes to glamorous lives. Now you know it’s impossible, at least not with a worn out Santro. I guess I try and manage my low levels of esteem; am talkin' 'bout the glamour quotient, by harping on my cognitive abilities. Not that it makes an impact. Like I said, the Santro service guys looked 'down' at my car and almost told me I need to replace every possible part which I guess could otherwise be used to build a new car.

Now I’m not the idiot. I say goodbye and take my car to a car repair place recommended by a colleague. I am pleasantly surprised by the response of the proprietor. He takes a look, asks me what happened, shows me what’s wrong, tells me what's to be repaired, advises me not to claim insurance because its more of a repair job, and even points out other work that needs to be done to my car. Needless to say, I entrust my car with him.

Now I know the Santro guys don’t care. They have a substantial part of the motoring public eat out of their hands, Shah Rukh Khan and all. But they’ve lost me. I guess they will lose more in the future. I am glad for the small time repair guy. It’s his 'services' that will keep him alive in an era where the ‘biggies’ are, and will take over. I hope the big shot marketers learn that it’s the services that will keep them competitive vis-a-vis other competing big shot marketers.

Else, maybe sooner, if not later, they may have to down their shutters.


Unknown said…
I had a similar experience sir. My bonnet got dented and the service centre said i need to shell out 3000 bucks and had no guarantee that it would stay as the same model was not available.. a local mechanic fixed it with binding wire for 20 bucks.. i wonder who is efficient..

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