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Purchasing a service require more thought given the fact that most services are intangible things that consumer normally cannot touch, or taste. While it is a challenge for service providers to find the right marketing strategy for each of the service they provide, consumer’s on the other hand also face the challenge of choosing a service. There a lot of factors that influence consumer service buying decisions. Most consumers may consider price, quality of service, needs and requirements, location and whether or not the type of service gives them the satisfaction they need. To examine how consumers make decision to choose one service provider over another, this paper looks at why consumers will choose the service of one service provider over the other in each of the categories listed below:
Haircut: Sports Clips Haircuts and Great Clips
- Convenient locations, no appointment necessary, walk-in accepted anytime
- Refer-a-friend and get a free MVP
- Great customer experience and a great cut.
- Basic haircut is $12 at a discounted price and $17 at regular price
- Basic hair cut cost $14 for adult and $12 for children and seniors
- Provide great customer experience
- Reward customers for referrals and provide coupons even when no referrals are made
- Ultimate convenience, online check-ins and walk-ins
Preference: As a consumer, my choice will be Great Clips. The reason is that Great Clips have locations close to my home and the price is lower than Sport Clips, when the price is not discounted. I have not been to Sports Clips but the customer reviews I have had on certain Sport Clips location already gives me a bad impression about their customer service.
Dentist: Aspen Dental and American Dental Center
- Dentists are committed to treating customers with compassion and respect they deserve.
- They believe in providing care that addresses both your short- and long-termdental care needs.
- They promise to give comprehensive care in a judgment-free environment
- Their dentists treat each patient as if they were family.
American Dental Center
- Emphasizes commitment to providing the best possible service and accepts nearly all insurance plans.
- They also have one of the highest Better Business Bureau ratings.
- They continue to strive on every level to support Ohio’s dental needs and customer service is their number one priority.
Preference: I have never been to any of these locations, but after a few online searches, a look at the website and customer review, I will I will choose Aspen dental over American dental based on the great customer reviews.
Automobile repair: Medas and Meineke Car Center
- Competitive pricing for repair and service
- They charges $80 per hour for labor cost
- Offer coupons that allow customers to save on service cost
- Offer basic, preferred and performance brake repair
- They are franchise based and prices vary by location
- The charge about $80 per hour for labor cost
Preference: In looking at both companies, I will not recommend or choose their service based on personal experience. I have been to both places based on some discount advertising they offered. At the end of the I ended up paying higher price than advertised and I felt deceived. After a few reviews on what other customers experience were with both companies, the reviews were not great and many of them have had same experience as I have.
Airline: Delta Airlines and United Airlines
- Better ground (airport) services (check-in, gate areas, etc.)
- Easy upgrade and great customer service
- Better East coast and European route network.
- Punctual on time, fewer and shorter delays
- WiFi and Entertainment
- Quality food and more food (especially trans-con), and food served on shorter flights.
- Easy upgrade from any fare price (Premier Exec).
- Better West coast, trans-con, and Asian route network.
- Higher delays and poor on time performance
- WiFi and Entertainment
Preference: I have flown with delta and United airlines and like the services of both companies. I will use any of the anytime I have to travel anywhere in the USA, but I will prefer Delta or United for international flights due to great customer experience I have with them on my international travel and will try United if anything should change.
Higher education: Ohio Dominican University and Franklin University
- Offer semester-based curriculum calendar system and provide about 41 majors.
- Most popular concentrations are Management, Business, Education, English and Literature, and General Studies.
- The graduation rate at Ohio Dominican University is 45%, average tuition pricing is very high, $27,600 per year.
- They have on-campus housing and Army ROTC programs are available at Ohio Dominican University.
- Operates a trimester-based curriculum calendar system and offer only 23 majors.
- The most popular concentrations are Management, Business, Accounting and Finance, Marketing and Advertising, and Computer Science. Franklin
- University student retention rate is very low at 35% with a graduation rate of 39%. Average tuition prices are close to the nationwide median - about $10,000 a year
- They also accept dual credits and credits for life experience (learned through independent study). Army ROTC programs are available at Franklin University.
Preference: I will choose ODU over Franklin based on their course structure and location. I did a lot of searches and reviews on both school and the graduation rate was one factor I could not overlook. The fact the ODU was a religious school also played a role in my decision.
From all the various factors that are influential to services buying decisions, the most often cited in the above examples are competitive pricing and quality of service. Consumers are always looking for great service at a reasonable price. Price is the number one factor consumer consider when buying a service. It is the money consumers pay for services in return for value and satisfaction. Consumers often determine if the service being offered actually meets their needs and requirements and also whether the service is worth the value of their money. This helps stirs up competition among sellers and it is important for Service Providers to understand what value means to potential consumers and how much money they are willing to sacrifice for a given service in return for value and satisfaction.
Aside price, consumers need quality and credibility also affect services buying decision. Consumers want services that offer the greatest satisfaction and also meet their needs in the best way. Since every provider claims to sell the best service, potential consumers often compare services to determine which ones gives them the most value. In the case of Sport Clips and Great Clips, since the emphasis is on looks, consumers will choose the one that provide the best purchasing experience. Credibility is also important in consumers buying decisions. People want proof that other consumers have purchased the service and that the providers have built reputation overtime. They encourage sellers to provide information to show that similar consumers have struggled with their decisions but when they decided to purchase the service, they were happy with the results. Consumers often rely on reviews and comments made by previous customers. The more proof of information people get about a service, they are more open to buying that service knowing that other consumers bought the service and were happy with the result.
Also the opinions of others or previous customers also affect the buying decision. Opinions of any kind are likely to encourage or discourage potential customers and increase their desirability about the service. When this happens, it lowers their resistance to the price and actually makes the product more appealing. Service providers often solicit opinions and testimonies letters from happy customers. Sometimes they show photographs of satisfied customers using their service to support their sales strategy. In the example of Delta and United Airlines, two of my friends used the service of these airlines for a trip to their summer vacations. Although both had great vacations, the other friend was disappointed with the service offered by United Airline. This experience is more likely to affect future decision when choosing between the two airlines.
Finally, the way consumers make purchasing decisions have changed in today’s business due to information availability on social media and internet search tools. Consumers also resort to reviews, survey results and comparison of services published in the consumer report. Personally, I have used consumer report and internet sources for information on service buying decision. An example is during the purchase of my last car, I used information from consumer report and internet search for price comparison, extended warranty and repair cost issue, additional discounts offered by the dealer, customer service and after-sale services. The consumer report information was very helpful in my decision making.