Service characteristics like inconsistency, inseparability, intangibility, etc., have resulted in certain types of service distribution.
Products that are usually consumed or rented and where there is no transfer of ownership is known as service products.
However, the availability of service is a critical factor for selling a service. Also, the service must be easily accessible.
For this purpose, there must be an effective distribution system, i.e., the channels or medium through which a service provider can make contact with the potential customers of the service product.
When the delivery system fails, any operating strategy designed specifically for providing a particular service to a target market does not function.
A good distribution system requires a group of well-qualified and capable persons having the right set of attitudes for desirable performance along with suitable facilities, equipment, workflow structures, and cautiously designed layouts for well-defined goals.
Good delivery systems provide the right level of capacity for effectively meeting the usual customer demands.
They aid in decreasing the risk- related perceptions of customers and also ensure that every service quality standard is considered.
Designing an effective distribution system can build barriers to entry in the competitive market and can change the perception of customers regarding the service products.
Different ways to manage service delivery are as follows:
1. Delivering Services through Employees: Quality services can be delivered through HR practices and service employees.
Here, it is presumed that many discontinuities remain in the service quality when it is not delivered as desired even when the expectations of customers are well evaluated (Gap 1) and those expectations are conformed by specifically designing the service (Gap 2).
In the service quality framework, these discontinuities are regarded as the service performance gap (Gap 3). HR-related issues are considered as a critical reason for this gap as the service is frequently delivered by the employees.
2. Delivering Services through Customers: The extent to which the customers take active participation and get involved in the process of service delivery is known as customer participation.
It becomes unavoidable in the process of service delivery. Services can be regarded as performances or activities that are simultaneously produced and consumed.
The ultimate outcome of the service is often produced by the interaction that takes place between customers, employees, and other members of the service environment.
3. Delivering Services through Intermediaries: In-service provision, there is a direct interaction between the customers and the service providers (except in situations where e-channels are used for service delivery like distance education).
The service providers should either seek methods to include other members in the distribution process or be present at the time of service delivery as the service is produced and consumed simultaneously.
However, it can be challenging to involve others as a quality service can only be delivered when it is delivered directly to the consumer by the service provider.
4. Delivering Services through Electronic Channels: Organisations use electronic marketing channels when they use the internet for making available the various products and services to the customers/business buyers.
Along with helping the firms to adopt various advertising strategies through websites, electronic channels also help in decreasing the costs by eliminating intermediaries.