Groonroos (1990) notes that in the traditional literature on marketing the concept ‘marketing management’ is used to describe the practical applications of marketing and he suggests that this is perfectly appropriate in the case of consumer goods. However, he goes on to argue that in a service context the whole organisation has to be supportive to marketing and he concludes that marketing is an integral part of any theory of service management. One of the central themes in the rapidly growing services marketing and management literature (Berry and Parasuraman 1993) is the nature of the interactions and relationships between the service provider's personnel and the customer. Such a theme has been defined in a variety of ways. There has been considerable interest, for example, in the ‘Service Encounter’ or ‘Moment of Truth’ (Carlzon 1987) i.e., in the direct face‐to‐face contacts between the customer and the employers of the service firm whilst Solomon et.al., (1985) argue that this encounter has a major impact on service differentiation, quality control, delivery systems and customer satisfaction. Gronroos (1990) takes a longer term view in developing a relationship definition of marketing as being concerned “to establish, maintain and enhance relationships with customers … at a profit so that the objectives of the parties are met” (p.138). Bateson (1989) recognises the importance of the service encounter but also stresses that the non face‐to‐face interactions and the quality of the service environment must also be considered. This leads him to suggest that any conceptualisation of services marketing should include all kinds of possible interactions and that consideration should also be given to the ‘service experience’ rather than just to the service encounter.
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