Role of Employees in Service Marketing
In the field of marketing, employees are trained to apply different techniques related to promotion and advertising to sell a particular product or service to consumers. Yet, there are many instances where employees have encountered a conflict between their desire to satisfy their customers through the provision of excellent service and their duty to fulfill the company’s objective, that is, to sell the product such that it earns maximum revenue which can translate to higher profits for the business.
This paper aims to analyze the numerous challenges that employees face in this respect during multiple stages of their work tenure and the different ways with which they, with the help of their managers, can combat these problems Carmichael, 1995).
For the purpose of facilitating our understanding regarding the different dimensions of this phenomenon, I have chosen a consumer goods corporation as the model for my discussion. It was here that I observed the problems the employees faced as they noticed a stark difference between their obligations towards their customers and their obligations towards the company. We shall analyze these conflicts or discrepancies in obligations in the following aspects:
When an employee is undergoing training, not only are his skills and capabilities enhanced through it but his/her knowledge also increases through the teaching of several concepts related to his/her field, in order to prepare him/her for the corporate environment. Here, he/she is told that the ‘customer always comes first’, that their needs are the company’s top priority and thus they should be catered with utmost effectiveness (Lovelock, 2000).
However, upon entering the corporate environment, the emphasis is laid on attaining maximum profits through as many sales as can possibly be conducted. Each employee is forced to get involved in the mad race to make the most sales for a particular product; in most instances, regardless of taking into account what exactly the customer wants and whether the product’s attributes and benefits match those needs. In this scenario, there is a conflict encountered by each employee with respect to fulfilling the needs of the customer and working in the best interests themselves and indirectly that of the company.
Taking into consideration the conflicts faced by employees above, it is then a challenge to remain motivated. On the one hand, if the employee were to take care of the customer’s best interests – which may involve withholding an opportunity to gain profit from them – then, as is the culture in most companies nowadays, he/she may be reprimanded and even denied a bonus or praise for his work. However, if he/she mainly worked with the objective of earning a profit and eventually commission for himself/herself, then there are chances that he/she may lose out on a possible long-term lucrative relationship with his/her customer. In either scenario, the employee can experience a big blow to his/her motivation and confidence and thus the effectiveness and efficiency in his/her performance may drop (Robbins, 2001).
A customer naturally is always on the lookout for his/her own interests. Any product which has the ability to satisfy the customer with its performance is the customer’s first priority. However, it takes more than just a product’s features, attributes and benefits to win a customer over. He/She is also looking out for good rapport between himself/herself and the employee/salesperson. This could eventually translate into better quality service in terms of after-sales service, discounts, gift hampers or vouchers, etc. These factors cement the customer’s loyalty towards the company, and are thus essential towards maintaining a good customer-company relationship. Customers also give a lot of importance to the ideals, morals and values which the company stands for. If they match the ideals, beliefs and attitudes of the customer, then it is more likely that the customer will be more open and positive towards this particular company’s products and services as compared to any rival company’s products. It is within this realm of customer expectations that employees often face conflicts as customer expectations do not necessarily translate into profits for the company (Carmichael, 1995).
The above-mentioned conflicts do have the potential to create an impact in the form of either sales or lost customers for the company. These are conflicts that employees face on a regular basis and which have to be tackled with virtually everyday. It is true that the company’s main objective is to earn maximum revenue on the sale of its products and services; it is also true that through increased sales, a company will eventually be able to expand and grow in its industry. However, the desire to attain short-term profits will eventually lead the company to lose its grip on its customer base. Customers may find it easier to switch to another company where they are more likely to receive better quality service for which they may not mind paying a little more. Hence, it is imperative that management create an atmosphere of encouragement for those employees who work to provide better services to customers and maintain long-lasting relationships with them.
Carmichael, (1995), Business Ethics: The New Bottom Line. Pearson Education.
Lovelock, (2000), Services Marketing People, Technology, Strategy, 5/e. Wiley
Robbins, (2001), Organizational Behavior, Edition 9.Prentice Hall