It is good to clarify that the product is understood as something tangible and material; the intangible and intangible service.
A service, normally, is distinguished with respect to a product for some typical connotations.
The service is:
In the sense that the consumer can not compare two or more services before buying them; he can ascertain the quality only at the moment of fruition.
If we enroll in a motor activity course we will know if it is only valid when the service is actually delivered. If, again, we decide to go to the restaurant only at the moment of fruition, when we will be served and we will taste the dishes, we will know if it is a good restaurant, or not.
This is why the assessment of satisfaction or dissatisfaction at the time of purchase is usually afterwards.
The professional service of a physical education teacher in a gym or sports club can not be separated from his person. His is a personal performance, can not be delegated to others. It is his competence that distinguishes him from those who are not professional.
Our teacher can not standardize his production. Each lesson will be different. Hence also the difficulty in predicting the quality of his performance and, therefore, of the service. Furthermore, no service can be stored and then resold in other periods.
Ultimately, a service is distinguished from a good by the absolute lack of the typical qualities of the material. Therefore we can not make any physical or chemical alteration to it; we can not transport it or store it; finally, the consumer can benefit from the service only when it reaches the end of the production cycle (context between the moment of production and the moment of fruition).
In this regard, it is good to remember that the demand for services is strongly subject to sudden seasonal, daily, weekly changes and, often, also during the different hours of the day.
An indoor pool for many months a year remains unused as free swimming, on the other hand during holidays and pre-holidays of the autumn and winter season increases the turnout; the hours of tennis or squash in the morning compared to the afternoon or evening will certainly have a different frequency.
The same predisposition to sport and fitness, in relation to the types of plants, will be more consistent in autumn, winter and spring, rather than during the summer.
In this sense, in service companies, the fluctuation of demand causes considerable worries when it is necessary to set up product, price and promotion policies.
Facilitating prices for housewives who attend a maintenance gym class in the morning can be an example. Or, again, promote particular initiatives during the dead season (excursions, connect the gym with outdoor activities, tournaments and events).
However, it must be said that service marketing differs from that of goods mainly because of the intangibility and the role played by staff who are in close relationship with the customers.
Intangibility is synonymous with untouchability, therefore the service goes beyond being immaterial and it is characterized by a touch that is more characterized, and by not being able to touch it limits the behavior of the purchaser.
If at the service, understood as already mentioned in the intangible sense, we add elements of strong tangibility (for example of the machines for the gyms) it is not possible to guarantee a better quality at the moment.
This does not mean they intervene directly on this quality, placing themselves between the expectations of the service and the service that is actually obtained.
That is, given that the tools guarantee, however, a certain reliability and performance, in the end a qualitative contribution. One thing is certain, the technologies help the customer to choose and quickly evaluate the purchase of a service.
It is evident, however, that marketing applied to products can not be transferred in the same way as services.
The sale of a tennis racket is different from that of a tennis center.
Then there is the heterogeneity of the service sector that can hardly create marketing methods that are indiscriminately applicable to the entire service sector.
Each specific activity has particular problems, so the research and study field can only be the single sector (a bank, a hotel, an insurance agency, a gym), each single service is presented as unique and original.
The vast field of sports and motor activities is clearly part of the service concept. A gym, a swimming pool, a tennis center, a sports club, a club, offer their services to a potential market. But what kind of services is it?
From services related to people, rehabilitative, aesthetic, maintenance of physical and motor performance improvement, to immaterial services, recreation, animation, sports games, technical training and so on.
However, for simplicity and clarity, without the economists want us, we will use the term product (or product-service) to express any useful means to satisfy the needs of consumers.
For the supply of the product-service three factors are inseparable from each other.
a) The staff.
All service companies are normally staff-intensive. Those who are successful conceive ways to develop and train human resources systematically and rigorously. In the services the employee relationship is direct.
The customer plays an active role in service organizations. It does not receive and consume only the service, but actively participates in its delivery and production. The result of this interaction, positive or negative, returns to those who provided the service.
Increasingly, the services, in addition to being highly staffed, also require a large amount of investments in technology and equipment (think, for example, the importance of technology for fitness). We have also said that technology offers a minimum but insufficient standard. quality of service.