Additional Ps-Physical Evidence

Physical evidence is the atmosphere where the service is being delivered from. For example, Cleanliness in doctor's clinic, exterior appearance and interior decor of restaurant, the comfort of the seating arrangement in a cinema hall, adequate facility for personal needs at the airport all contribute towards the image of the service (organization) as perceived by the customer. The common element in these is that they are all physical, tangible and controllable aspects of a service organization. They constitute the physical evidence of the service. There may be two kinds of physical evidence: 

1. Peripheral evidence
2. Essential evidence

Peripheral evidence is actually possessed as a part of the purchase of service but by itself is of no value. Airline ticket, cheque book, receipt for a confirmed reservation in a hotel are examples of peripheral evidence. A cheque book is of value only if you have money in the bank-without that it is of no significance. Peripheral evidence adds on to the - value of essential evidence. In a hotel you may find matchbox, writing pad, pen, complimentary flowers and drinks, which you may take away. These are Representations of peripheral evidence. Peripheral evidence is possessed and taken away by the customer, but essential evidence cannot be possessed by the customer; the building, its size and design, interior layout and decor, logo and mnemonic device of the organizations are constituents of the essential evidence. The essential evidence is a very critical input in determining the atmosphere and environment of the service organization. 

It is the duty of a marketing manager to manage the physical evidence in order to create the ideal environment for the service. It can be done in two ways: one by making the service more tangible, and two, by making it easier for the customer to grasp the concept of the service. 

One obvious way of making the service more tangible is by developing a tangible representation of the. Service as is done in case of credit cards. Credit cards have a physical entity and are identifiable by their brand name and distinct looks of the card. Other ways by which a service can be made more tangible is by standardizing the physical attributes such as location, interior decor, color scheme etc. Most airlines use a dress for all their staff to help create a sense of uniformity. 

The second way is to make it easier for the consumer to understand the concept of the service which you are offering with easily perceived objects and ideas. Promoters of package tours may provide detailed information about the hotel, food and transport facility they would be using to help the consumers understand the concrete dimensions of the tour and thus reduce their anxiety arising out of uncertainty. Information which helps reduce uncertainty and provides specific: information about the various dimensions of the service should be provided to prospective consumers.


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