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Role of ServiceScape in Marketing of Services

Role of ServiceScape in Marketing of Services

The concept of a servicescape was developed by Booms and Bitner to emphasize the impact of the physical environment in which a service process takes place. Booms and Bitner defined a servicescape as "the environment in which the service is assembled and in which the seller and customer interact, combined with tangible commodities that facilitate performance or communication of the service" (Booms and Bitner, 1981, p. 36).

For e.g. Mango Masala, the hangout restaurant in the city centre Ajmer uses fluorescent colors, wrought iron furniture , collages on the walls and a mock aero plane suspended from the ceiling to excite its guests and suggests that it is the ‘happening place’ of the city. Depending on the nature of desired and designed encounter a servicescape can be of the three possible types.


The service is designed around a customer helping self with the service .The role of service employees is limited. Customer performs most of the activities, either on their own or with a little help from the provider. Examples are ATMs, cinema halls, gymnasium and self service restaurants etc.The service provider must plan the facility exclusively with the customer in mind. The facility design can attempt to position it for the desired market segment, by making the facility pleasing and appropriate to use for them. A gym layout and design and design (choice of equipment) conveys the segment of population that is targeted – slimming enthusiasts, body shapers, sportspersons, business executives and housewives or the youth.


When a service encounter requires a close interaction between the customer and provider the servicescape must be facilitate this interaction. An interpersonal servicescape is appropriate. Hotels, hospitals, schools and banks are examples of this type of servicescapes, they must be designed to attract, satisfy and facilitate the activities of both conducive to the interaction between the two.


There are service settings where there is little or no customer involvement in the servicescape. Telecommunications, insurance and call centres etc., are examples of remote encounters. These use remote servicescapes. They are back office .The place has to be designed to keep employees’ motivation and morale high. The servicescape should premeditate ergonomically to facilitate teamwork, supervision and operational efficiency.

Further each type of servicescape can be elaborate and lean. Lean servicescape will have simple processes, simple layout little equipment, little geographic (physical) spread and few simple interactions. STD-PCO an ATM a dry cleaner and filling station are examples of lean servicescapes. For these, the designing is simple and uncomplicated, and more so if they are self service or remote servicescape with either customers or providers on the scene a five star resort or theme park or an airport etc., are examples of elaborate servicescapes with complex and dynamic interactions between customer-employees,customers-customers,customers-equipments,equipments-employees,and employees-employees. While customer presence requires elements of comfort and convenience to be built in, the providers seek productivity, operational conveniences and amenities.

Typology of Servicescape

Servicescape usage Elaborate Lean

(customer only)

Sports complex

Cinema hall


Internet services

Express mail drop-off

Interpersonal services

(both customer and employeee)







Dry cleaner

Video library

Hair salon

Remote service (employee only) Telephone company

Insurance company


Many professional services

Call centres

Automated voice-messaging-based services

Roles of Servicescape

A servicescape is not a passive setting it plays an important role in service transactions. An evaluation of the roles they have in service encounters will reveal how important it is to design an appropriate servicescape .A servicescape plays four important roles.


Servicescapes ‘package’ the service offer and communicate an image to the customers of what they are going to get. It is the corporeal manifestation of the service idea for interest groups to form a shared appreciation-ma perceptible metaphor for an intangible service. They are predetermined to render an intended image to the service concept and evoke a particular sensory and emotional reaction that sets the stage for a germane experience that augments the efficacy of the offer. Appropriate servicescaping is a sure shot way to create an image that the service provider is seeking to put up. It also helps moderate customer expectation and reinforces his experience and reminiscences. Servicescape is an outward appearance of organization and thus can be critical in forming initial impressions or setting up customer expectation.

Another important job of servicescape is to act as an a facilitator in assisting both the customers and service employees to make most of the opportunity it should make the service consumption comfortable convenient for the customer. For employees it should be pleasant to conduct activities. This setting is designed can enhanced or inhibits the efficient flow of activities in the service setting making it easier or harder for customer and employee to accomplish their goals.

Design of servicescapes aids in socialization of both the customers and employees, conveying expected roles, behavior and relationship. Compare the servicescape of a public bank with that of a private bank. In a public bank a large part of the floor is marked as restricted, leaving little space in the form of an arrow aisle along the outer walls of the hall for customers. The message is clear –customer must not enter the restricted area, that is where the most important job of the bank, internal operations, is conducted and by entering t0hat area , customers will be interfering with that task. Whereas private banks approach customers with conviviability. The air conditioned lounge with comfortable seats and a cold water dispenser as you pass through a spotlessly clean glass door, makes customers feel welcome . They are allowed more space to move and occupying a seat across from executives desks suggest that customer are indeed central to all activity. The service with public bank also suggests that customers have a formal –official relationship with public bankers, whereas servicescapes in private banks encourage casual –affable interactions.

With the layouts a customer can make out what kind of bank it is. A dominance of green at IDBI bank differentiates it with red of HDBC bank. Candle lit tables with smooth classical music and tables with clothes and pre-laid cutlery differentiates a restaurant from other with flour cent colors and pattern on the walls, blasting music, crowded with young boys and girls and motorcycles at the makeshift parking in front. Clearly the design of the servicescape differentiates one provider from its competitors, and hints at eth segment the services are targeted at. Companies adapt servicescape to reposition the services or identify new customer segments.

Although it is useful from a strategic point of view to think about the multiple roles of the servicescape and how they interact making actual decision about servicescape design requires an understanding of why the effects occur and how to manage them. The roles played by servicescape in a particular situation will aid in identifying opportunities and deciding just who needs to be consulted in making facility design decisions.

Courtesy: Meenakshi Ghanghas, Lecturer
Dept of Management studies
B.S Anangpuria Institute of Technology and Management

Writers Profile

Meenakshi ghanghas
Dept of Management studies
B.S Anangpuria Institute of Technology and Management


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