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Essay On Servicescape

Servicescape: The Impact Of Physical Environment On Customer Behaviour

Introduction (Academic context to support your investigation)

The importance of physical environment on customers is widely recognised by managers and mentioned in many service industry. It is true that customers will make use of a service enterprise if they perceive that the service provided will be of high quality (Brady & Cronin, ). According to Abdullah Rosario (), quality of services delivered plays considerably a major role in shaping and manipulating customer satisfaction. With customer satisfaction comes positive customer behaviour. It is highly visible in the service sectors such as restaurants, hotels, retails, hospitals and bank.

One important aspect regarding perception of servicescape includes the study of the physical environment in which the services are delivered. The servicescape model helps management develop a strategy to impress their first-time or regular customers. However, managers often restructure these elements but are often not fully utilising it. It is important for service managers to understand that the quality of the service environment is positively linked with customer satisfaction. On the other hand, it is also negatively linked with customer complaints.

Physical environment in a service business such as ambience, aesthetics, signages etc. plays an important role in creating a positive customer behaviour and experience. Bitner () studied in the area of service marketing specifically in physical environment. According to him, in a service setting, physical environment is the main factor which will be impacting customer’s perception during their first experience and their consumption of the service carries out within the physical environment. The importance of understanding service’s physical environment it the key to manipulate customer’s behaviour and to create a positive image for service business.

Kotler () defined customer satisfaction as “the level of a persons felt state resulting from comparing a product’s perceived performance or outcome to his/her expectations.” Thus, with positive perception of the service matching customer’s expectation, it leads to positive customer behaviour. In turn, it helps increase long-term customer relationship as well. The physical environment can help to achieve a positive first experience. The physical environment includes attributes such as ambiance, space/function, signage, symbols and artefacts of the service in which services are performed and delivered to customers. With these, it aids in the first impression of both the image of the business and eventually influences behaviours in the service setting. The physical environment is the area in which the service is delivered. It allows the business and customers to communicate, and recognises that the intangible service can be made tangible.

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In the context of ethnic dining services, authenticity is the key ingredient. This study aims to investigate the impact of servicescape dimensions on consumers’ prepurchase authenticity perceptions and patronage intentions to ethnic restaurants. The authors propose that three key dimensions of the servicescape—the physical setting, service providers, and other customers—provide ethnic-associated cues for consumers to assess authenticity in the preconsumption stage. Empirical results from a between-subject experimental design suggest that servicescape dimensions can induce preconsumption authenticity perceptions of ethnic restaurants and that the dimensional cues interplay to affect authenticity assessments. Furthermore, a customer’s ethnicity (referent ethnic vs. mainstream) affects how she/he interprets servicescape cues and, therefore, his/her authenticity assessment. The perceived authenticity, together with a consumer’s trait of cosmopolitanism and his/her familiarity with such ethnic restaurants, consequently affect consumers’ patronage intentions. These findings contribute to hospitality research on consumers’ authenticity assessments of ethnic restaurants. Furthermore, managerial implications for ethnic restaurants in terms of marketing strategies will be discussed.

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