Service vs Product – What’s more valuable?
We couldn’t walk into a dealership and ask to use a digger for a month to see if we liked it, but service providers are expected to offer free trials of advertising or marketing to see if the buyer likes it.
Do you value something more if you can touch it, feel its quality and use it? Or do equally value something that you’re not able to hold but something that still exists and you can see?
That’s the difference between a product and a service, consumers have needs and usually feel more fulfilled by a product that they have a relationship with, such as a car or a TV more than a service which is intangible.
Services such as marketing, advertising or consultancy gives consumers knowledge, power or influence to use however, it’s not something they can take home or store away for safe keeping like a product. The challenge with services is to convey the tangible value of the outcome, for example you place an advert on a website to sell a digger and it attracts 10 enquiries and 1 sale, the service is driving traffic to your business and converting it to a tangible sale. The intangible service is merely the middleman putting your business where it needs to be. Surely this service is worth more than a tangible product on display in a dealership which has no way of attracting customers as they don’t know it’s even there?
Stuff, things, items… whatever you call them, products are there to be touched, used and bought. Products need to immediately convey their quality and sell their features and benefits before a customer even thinks of purchasing it. The difference is without an element of service, would the customer know the product exists or be able to research it first? For example, if you were to purchase a tractor, you’d research it (mainly online) and find out its reputation, benefits and if previous buyers have had issues with it. Then you’d go and research where sells the item you want and the final service would be the dealership allowing you to see it. Without service it’s just an object that doesn’t mean much to anyone.
Service has always been the poor cousin in the sales world and unfortunately the value proposition isn’t seen by many buyers as much as products. We couldn’t walk into a dealership and ask to use a digger for a month to see if we liked it, but service providers are expected to offer free trials of advertising or marketing to see if the buyer likes it. Double standards?
The effort and knowledge that goes into offering a service based solution is often overlooked and seen as something that can be given away for free or continually discounted. Consumer behaviour is certainly starting to shift in the right direction with increased service offerings online however there is still a lot of work to be done.
We’re tirelessly working to achieve the service vs product balance and we hope that attitudes change and the service world begins to gain the recognition it deserves.