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Services are actions performed for customers. They are intangible in nature. When a company sells its products to customers, it can market its services along with the product. This could include providing after-sale servicing for a limited period of time, advice over the internet or through telephonic conversations in case the customer is having any problems in using the product, discounts on repairs if the customer brings the product to an agent of the manufacturer, etc.
Sony, being a large electronics manufacturer could market its services to provide help and troubleshooting over the telephone in case customers have any issues with using the product. They could offer free repairs for a limited duration which could be extended if the customer pays a small amount. Honda can offer free servicing of its automobiles, discounts on repairs if the vehicles are brought to their authorized dealers, etc.
The main products sold by both Sony and Honda are goods, rather than services. Thus both the companies need to play close attention to the tools and techniques of product marketing. However they cannot afford to totally neglect the requirements of services marketing.
As a matter of fact every company selling goods also needs to provide some minimum amount of support services to their customer. For example, they need to educate the customer about the nature, benefits, and the ways of using their products. They may act as a consultant to customers in selecting the right product. In addition they may also provide after sales services such as installation, training, and maintenance. Therefore every company can use the tools and techniques of services marketing to its advantage. Greater the services component of the services component of product of a primarily goods company, greater is the utility of services marketing for the company.
Both Honda and Sony need to provide substantial amount of service support to the customer who buy their products. Products of both these company are complicated durable goods. Therefor these two companies must provide their customers support to enable them to select the right product that meets their requirements. The customer also frequently need to be educated on installation, operation and maintenance of the products they purchase. The minimum support for this requires provision of some installation, operation and maintenance manual, perhaps with added information on these aspects through a website. However, for both Sony and Honda may need to provide additional assistance for installation and maintenance. Particularly Honda, which sells automobiles, needs to provide on going maintenance support.
These companies are also in the service business of maintenance of their products. To the extent these services are provided by the company owned or franchised outlets, Honda or Sony are directly engaged in service business. Even when such services are handled by independent maintenance service providers they need to take adequate care ensure effectiveness of such independent services. This is because the sale of the basic goods itself depends heavily on the effectiveness of maintenance support available.
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