The style and appearance of the space where the service is delivered (including online space) is highly consequential for:
- Facilitating the service encounter and enhancing productivity
- Signalling quality, and positioning the brand
- Reinforcing the value proposition, and
- Shaping customers’ (and employees’) feelings and behaviours in the space
For instance, warm colours are energising, while cool colours are calming. Thus, the warm colours encourage fast decision making (as in the case of fast food restaurants), while cold colours are better for high involvement scenarios such as operating theatres. Scents, too, can trigger memories and evoke associations; while warm temperature has been shown to increase spending.
The spatial layout, furnishings and equipment, too, can shape our experiences and expectations. Consider, for instance, how the lighting, displays, etc… are so different in these two supermarkets:
Finally, the various, signs, symbols and artefacts on display can dramatically influence the service experience, from helping customers find their way around our space (again, including online space), and how they are supposed to behave.
Thus, as marketers, we need to consider carefully how the service environment (aka, servicescape) shapes perceptions and behaviours. Then, we need to select environmental design elements according to our goal (for instance, whether we want to create an energising vs a calming environment). Last semester, entrepreneur Jacob Thundil, joined my class to talk about how he incorporates these elements in his businesses – both the current line of coconut-based products offered under the Cocofina brand, as well as a new line of plant-based products that he has been developing and is launching soon. Here is the recording of his session:
If you would like to propose a project for students to work on, do get in contact with me. They conduct a service audit, and propose solutions for common service failures, such delays, mistakes, and unmet expectations. It’s great practice for them to work with real companies, and they often come up with very creative and insightful suggestions. It does work better if it’s a type of product or service that they can relate to, though.