In the services sector, the environment or ‘servicescape’ is one of the most important aspects of the business. It shapes the customers’ experience and connects them with the service through physical surroundings. Having a strong service environment allows the company to portray their brand image to their consumers through colors, music, signs, layouts and functionality, all of which enhance the service encounter. A servicescape also gives businesses the opportunity to differentiate from competitors.
Starbucks is a good example of creating a servicescape. Starbucks seeks to create a home away from home for their consumers. They want to create a warm place where their customers can meet to catch up, get some extra work done, or just relax–in short they want to create an environment where their customers feel comfortable, welcome, and taken care of. Their physical retail locations are a key part of both the Starbucks brand and product. When consumers choose to go to Starbucks, they aren’t just buying a latte or a frappuccino, they’re buying the Starbucks atmosphere and that’s what keeps them going to Starbucks instead of another coffee shop.
By having a consistent servicescape, companies are able to provide more than a series of services, they’re delivering their brand–a way to distinguish themselves and to ultimately enhance their marketing tactic. By recognizing the value of servicescapes, they are marketing their service as well as their overall customer experience.
So, what’s your favorite servicescape?