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Physical Evidence in

Module 6
Topics to be covered
● Types of servicescapes
● Role of servicescapes
● Framework for understanding servicescapes & its effect on behaviour
● Guidance for physical evidence -strategies.
Physical Evidence
Physical Evidence
● Because services are intangible, customers often rely on tangible
cues, or physical evidence, to evaluate the service before its
purchase to assess their satisfaction with the service during and after
● They include all aspects of the organisations physical facility(the
servicescape)as well as other forms of tangible communication
Elements of Physical Evidence
The hotel offers The Taj Club, Executive Suites, Luxury Suites and the recently
designed Grand Presidential Suite.
How does physical evidence affect the customer experience?

● Physical evidence particularly the servicescape,can have a profound effect on

the customer experience
○ E.g.:whether the experience is uninteresting ( a bus or a subway ride)
○ Personally meaningful ( a church wedding experience, or a birthing room
at hospital)
○ Spectacular (e.g., a week long travel adventure)
How does physical evidence affect the customer experience?

● The physical evidence of the service will influence

● The flow of the experience
● The meaning customers attach to it
● Their satisfaction and their emotional connections with the company
delivering the experience
● Their social and personal interactions with others experiencing the service
Types of servicescapes
Type of servicescapes

● This chapter explains the roles played by the servicescape and how it affects
employees and customers and their interactions
● The chapter relies heavily on ideas and concepts from environmental
psychology, natural and social environments
● Servicescape Usage
● First organisations differ in terms of whom the servicescape will actually affect
● That is who actually comes into the service facility and thus is potentially
influenced by its design-customers, employees, or both groups
Servicescape usage

● Self Service Environment

○ The customer performs most of the activities and few if any employees
are involved
○ E.g: self service environment includes ATMs, movie theatres ,parks, and
online Internet services.
○ In these primarily self-some environments the organization can plan the
servicescape to focus exclusively on marketing goals such as attracting
the right market segment, making the facility pleasing and easy to use,
and creating the desired service experience.
Servicescape usage (continued..)

● Remote Service
○ Which has little or no customer involvement with the servicescape.
○ E.g: Telecommunications, utilities, financial consultants, editorial, and
mail-order services are examples of services that can be provided
without the customer ever seeing the service facility.
○ In remote services, the facility can be set up to keep employees
motivated and to facilitate productivity, teamwork, operational efficiency,
or whatever organizational behavior goal is desired without any
consideration of customers because they will never need to see the
Servicescape usage (continued..)

● Interpersonal Services
○ These are placed between the two extremes and represent situations in
which both the customer and the employee are present and active in the
○ E.g.:Hotels, restaurants, hospitals, educational settings, and banks.
○ In these situations the servicescape must be planned to attract, satisfy,
and facilitate the activities of both customers and employees
Servicescape Complexity

● Some service environments are very simple, with few elements, few spaces,
and few pieces of equipment.
● Such environments are termed lean.
● E.g. :Shopping mall information kiosks can be considered as a lean
environment because it provide service from one simple structure.
● For lean servicescapes, design decisions are relatively straightforward,
especially in self-service or remote service situations in which there is no
interaction among employees and customers.
Servicescape Complexity

● Other servicescapes are very complicated, with many elements and many
● They are termed elaborate environments.
● E.g.: A hospital with its many floors and rooms, sophisticated equipment, and
complex variability in functions performed within the physical facility.
● In such an elaborate environment, the full range of marketing and
organizational objectives theoretically can be approached through careful
management of the servicescape.
● E.g.: A patient’s hospital room can be designed to enhance patient comfort
and satisfaction while simultaneously facilitating employee productivity
Strategic Roles of the Servicescape
Servicescape is frequently one of the most important elements used
in positioning a service organization
Apple Store, Soho, New York
Strategic Roles of the Servicescape

● The servicescape and other elements of physical evidence essentially wrap

the service and convey to consumers an external image of what is inside
● The service package conveys what it offers and communicates through its
visuals to the customers.
● Its role extends to creating emotional and sensory reaction within the
● Includes dress or uniform, appearance of the personnel or service they are
Speedi-Lube Spells Out the Service Offering
Strategic roles of the Servicescape
● Facilitator
○ Servicescape can also serve as a facilitator in aiding the performances of
persons in the environment
○ A well designed , functional facility can make the service a pleasure to
experience from the customer's point of view and a pleasure to perform
from the employee’s
○ Poor and inefficient design may frustrate both customers and employees
○ E.g.: An international air traveller who finds himself in a poorly designed
airport with few signs, poor ventilation, and few places to to sit or eat will
find the experience quite dissatisfying, and employees who work there
will probably be unmotivated as well
Strategic roles of the Servicescape
● Socializer
○ The design of the servicescape aids in the socialisation of both
employees and customers in the sense that it helps convey expected
roles, behaviours ,and relationships
○ E.g.: A new employee in a professional services firm would come to
understand her position in the hierarchy partially through noting her office
assignment , the quality of her office furnishings, and her location relative
to others in the organisation
Strategic roles of the Servicescape
● Socializer
○ Facilitates interaction between:
■ Customers and employees
■ Customers and fellow customers
■ Employees and fellow employees
Strategic roles of the Servicescape
● Differentiator
○ The design of the physical facility can differentiate a frm from its
competitors and signal the market segment that the service is intended
○ Physical environment can be used to reposition the a firm and /or attract
new market segments
○ E.g.: In shopping malls the signage, colors used in decor and displays ,
and type of music wafting from a store signal the intended market
○ It also differentiate the facility of a firm or service provider from its
○ The design of a physical setting can also differentiate one are of a
service organisation from another
Framework for understanding
servicescape effects on Behaviour
Making actual decision about servicescape design requires an
understanding of why the effects occur and how to manage them
Framework for Understanding Servicescape and its effects
on Behaviour
● The Underlying Framework
● The framework for understanding servicescape effects on behaviour follows
from basic stimulus-organism-response theory.
● In the framework the multi dimensional environment is the stimulus
● Consumers and employees are the organisms that respond to the stimuli
● Behaviours directed at the environment are the responses.
● Assumption:Dimensions of the servicescape will affect the customers and
employees and that they will behave in certain ways depending on their
internal reactions to the servicescape.
A Framework for
Environment- User
Relationships in
Behaviours in Servicescape
Individual Behaviours:
● Environmental psychologists say that individuals react to places with two
general, and opposite, forms of behaviour i.e approach and avoidance.
● Approach behaviour includes all positive behaviours that may be directed at
a particular place, such as desire to stay, explore, work and affiliate.
● Avoidance behaviour reflects opposite.
● Hence the servicescape can influence the degree of success that consumers
and employees experience in executing their plans once inside.
Approach vs Avoidance Behaviour
● Approach: all positive behaviors
that might be directed to a place
○ Desire to stay, explore, work,
○ Shopping enjoyment, spending
time and money
● Avoidance: negative behaviors
○ Desire not to stay, etc.
Behaviours in Servicescape
Social Interactions:
● The servicescape also influences the nature and quality of customer and
employee interactions, mostly directed in interpersonal services.
● It has been stated that “all social interaction is affected by the physical
container in which it occurs”.
● The “Physical Container” can affect the nature of social interaction in terms of
the duration of interaction and the actual progression of events.
● In many service situations, a firm may want to ensure a particular progression
of events and limit the duration of the service.
● Environmental variables like physical proximity, seating arrangements, size and
flexibility can define the service experience.
Social interactions are defined partially by the configuration of the servicescape-
A view of Disney Cruise Line
Internal Responses to the Servicescape
● The employees and the customers respond to dimensions of their physical
surroundings cognitively, emotionally and physiologically, and those
responses are what influence their behaviours in the environment. i.e the
servicescape do not influence behaviour directly.
● Environment and Cognition:
○ The perceived servicescape can have an effect on people’s beliefs about
a place and their beliefs about the people and products found in that
○ E.g.: The type of office furniture or decor and the type of clothing a
lawyer wears can influence a client's beliefs about whether the lawyer is
successful, expensive and trustworthy.
Fali Sam Nariman(One of India’s most distinguished constitutional lawyers) at his
Internal Responses to the Servicescape
● Perceptions of the servicescape
may help people distinguish a firm
by influencing how it is categorized.
● The overall perception of the
servicescape enables the
consumer or employee to
categorise the firm mentally.
● Perceptions of the servicescape -
fast food restaurant vs fine dine
Internal Responses to the Servicescape
● Environment and Emotion:
○ The perceived servicescape also influences emotional responses that, in
turn, influence behaviours.
○ Just being in a particular place can make a person feel happy,
lighthearted and relaxed whereas being in another place may make that
person feel sad, depressed and gloomy.
○ The colours, decor, music, and other elements of the atmosphere also
have a very subconscious effect on the moods of people in the place.
Internal Responses to the Servicescape
● Environment and physiology:
○ The perceived servicescape may also affect people in purely
physiological ways.
○ Noise that is too loud may cause physical discomfort, the temperature of
a room may cause people to shiver or sweat, the air quality can make it
difficult to breadth etc.
○ All these responses directly influence whether people stay in and enjoy a
particular environment.
○ E.g.: If the seating in a restaurant is comfortable then people will stay
for long and revisit it but if the seats are hard and uncomfortable, they will
not prefer to visit again.
Internal Responses to the Servicescape
Variations in Individual Responses:
● In general people respond to the environment cognitively, emotionally,
physiologically and their responses influence how they behave in the
● But the response will not be the same for every individual, every time.
● Personality differences as well as temporary conditions such as mood can
cause variations in how people respond to the servicescape.
● One personality trait that has been shown to affect how people respond to
environments is Arousal seeking.
● Arousal seekers enjoy and look for high levels of stimulation, whereas arousal
avoiders prefer lower levels of stimulation.
Internal Responses to the Servicescape
● An arousal seeker in a bright dance club with flashy lights might find the
environment a very happy one whereas an arousal avoider will dislike it.
● The purpose for being in a servicescape can also affect a person’s response
to it.
● E.g.: a person who is on an airplane for a one hour journey will not be
bothered by the atmosphere inside the plane as compared to a passenger
who is on it for 10 to 12 hours.
● Cultural differences also influence preferences for environmental features and
responses to servicescape design.
Environmental Dimensions of Servicescape
● In this section, we see the complex mix of environmental features that
influence these responses and behaviours.
● The environmental dimensions of the physical surroundings can include all
the objective physical factors that can be controlled by the firm to enhance
employee and customer actions.
● It includes Lighting, colour, signage, texture, quality of materials, layout, wall
decor etc.
● The potential elements have been categorized into ambient conditions,
spatial layout and functionality, and signs, symbols and artifacts.
Environmental Dimensions of Servicescape
Ambient Conditions:
● Ambient Conditions include background characteristics of the environment
such as temperature, lighting, noise, music, scent and colour.
● All these factors affect how people think, feel and respond to a particular
● Eg: While shopping if music is played in the background,the shoppers usually
feel more at ease especially when they have to wait in a queue.
Environmental Dimensions of Servicescape
Spatial Layout and Functionality:
● Because service environments generally exist to fulfill specific purposes or
needs of customers, spatial functionality of the physical surroundings are
● Spatial layout refers to the ways in which the machinery, equipment and
furnishings are arranged, the size and shape of those items and the spatial
relationship among them.
● Functionality refers to the ability of the same items to facilitate the
accomplishment of customer and employee goals.
Environmental Dimensions of Servicescape
Signs, Symbols and Artifacts:
● Many items in the physical environment serve as explicit or implicit signals
that communicate about the place to its users.
● Signs displayed on the exterior and interior of a structure are examples of
explicit(Plain) communication.
● Other environmental symbols and artifacts may communicate less directly
than signs, giving implicit cues to users about the meaning of the place or
norms and expectations for behaviour in the place.
● Signs, Symbols and Artifacts are important in forming first impressions and for
communicating service concepts.
Signs, Symbols and Artifacts

Signs as lables-Name of the Company Signs for directional purpose -Entrance

Signs, Symbols and Artifacts

Quality construction materials,

artwork, certificates and
photographs , floor coverings and
personal objects displayed in the
environment can all communicate
symbolic meaning and create
overall aesthetic impression

Signs to communicate rules of behaviour -

no smoking, Children must be
accompanied by adult
Guidelines for physical evidence strategy
Guidelines for Physical Evidence Strategy
Recognize the Strategic Impact of Physical Evidence
● Physical evidence can play a prominent role in determining service quality
expectations and perceptions
● It must be linked clearly to the organization's overall goals and vision
● Many evidence decisions are relatively permanent and costly
Blueprint the Physical Evidence of Service
● Everyone in the organization should be able to see the service process and
the existing elements of physical evidence.
● People, processes, and physical evidence can all be seen in the blueprint.
● Photographs or videotape of the process can be added to develop a
photographic blueprint that provides a vivid picture of physical evidence from
the customer's point.
Blueprint- Practo
Guidelines for Physical Evidence Strategy
Clarify Strategic Roles of the Servicescape
● E.g.: A daycare center would locate itself in the "elaborate, interpersonal" cell
of the matrix and quickly see that it's servicescape decisions would be
relatively complex and that the servicescape strategy would have to consider
the needs of both the children and the service providers
● Impact marketing, organizational behavior, and consumer satisfaction goals.
● Sometimes, servicescape may have no role in service delivery or marketing
from the customer's point of view(Telecommunication services).
● Clarifying the strategic role of the servicescape also forces recognition of the
importance of the servicescape in creating customer experiences.
Guidelines for Physical Evidence Strategy
Assess and Identify Physical Evidence Opportunities
● Once the current forms of evidence and the roles of the servicescape are
understood, possible changes and improvements can be identified
● A strategy might then be developed to provide more evidence of service to
show customers exactly what they are paying for.
● Discovered that the evidence provided is sending message that do not
enhance the firm's image or goals or that do not match customer expectations
● Another set of questions addresses whether the current physical evidence of
service suits the needs and preferences of the target market
● E.g.: High price menu - for family dining- accordingly facility design to be
Guidelines for Physical Evidence Strategy

Be Prepared to Update and Modernize the Evidence

● Some aspects of the evidence, particularly the servicescape, require frequent
or at least periodic updating and modernizing.
● Even if the vision, goals, and objectives of the company do not change, time
itself takes a toll on physical evidence, necessitating change and

Work Cross-Functionally
● A service firm is concerned with communicating a desired image, with
sending consistent and compatible messages through all forms of evidence
● With providing the type of service evidence the target customers want and
can understand
End of Module 6