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Servicescape, physical evidence, and 4 exciting ways to enhance customer experience

By Appointedd 01/22/2020

For many businesses, the service you offer to customers is somewhat intangible… They can’t see the thing that you’re selling, hold it in their hand, try that haircut on for size, and return it if they don’t like it. There’s a word to describe that phenomenon: servicescape.

What is servicescape?

When your customers are interested in a service, they have to create expectations and perceptions of value from somewhere.

The servicescape is defined as “the physical environment where a service can take place. It helps to analyze and identify the impact of a good environment on the service-based industry.”

The physical environment your business inhabits plays a crucial role in enhancing customer satisfaction. Think of it this way: right now, this blog post is an element of Appointedd’s physical evidence to you. If this was simply a solid block of text on a blank white web page with no images, the chances are you wouldn’t be interested in reading it.

The same applies to the physical evidence of your business. If it does not visually appeal to your customers, they will not be interested in your service.

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A (sensory) guide through servicescape

As the physical environment differs for every business, it’s hard to say exactly what your business should, or shouldn’t, do. There are, however, some rough guidelines to follow. 

A number of different elements make up the servicescape model of a business, and many relate to the senses. As the saying goes, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

Here are four ways you can shape how your service is perceived by customers, and make sure you’re sending the right message!


Factor 1: Sound

Music can have a powerful effect on perceptions and behaviours. Studies show that the right music can result in increased sales, and the wrong music can actually put customers off and damage a business. Audiosocket team put together a great blog article about how retailers increase sales with music.

If you have music in your shop/salon/the reception at your office, you want it to reflect the atmosphere your business seeks to create. 

Let’s say you operate a beauty salon, and one of your customers has just arrived for a massage. They lie down on the soft, warm towels, exhale gently, and just as they begin to sink into relaxation, frantic dance beats start blaring throughout the room. 

Suitable? Maybe not. 

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Factor 2: Size and shapes

The right design can improve social interaction in the service environment, especially crucial in high-contact services. Factors like room size, seating arrangements, spacing, and flow can have a positive effect on how you interact with your team, how your team interacts with your customers, and how customers interact with each other. 

Using different designs techniques can jazz up your clinic, salon, or shop, and have a material effect on your bottom line. 

There is, probably, as many office layout designs as office designers. Some business owners ask for the professional help while others let their DIY nature to be in charge. Regardless of which group you belong to, playing with shapes and sizes is a great fun. Not only when you play with toy bricks, but also when you scale it up. Isn’t running a successful business about scaling things up?

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Factor 3: Colours and lighting

Colours can be stimulating, calming, upbeat, symbolic, and can express emotions and messages that welcome your customers and reassure them they’ve come to the right place.

Color psychology has its own rules and global brands are well aware of it. Knowing the servicescape definition is one thing, but the correct approach to the physical environment can help your business speak without words.

You need to think about colour schemes for your business and what that says about the atmosphere you’re trying to create. 

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Factor 4: Scent

Scents have distinct characteristics and can be used to create emotional, physiological, and behavioural responses. 

There’s a reason that when you walk into Sainsbury’s in the morning, the first thing that greets you is the delicious scent of freshly baked croissants. Before you know it, you’re walking out the door stuffing an almond croissant in your face – even though you had breakfast an hour ago.

Bakeries and medical marijuana dispensaries don’t seem to have any scent-related marketing problems.

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So, is servicescape really worth your time?

Well, that’s up to you.

Researchers in this area have identified that different types of stimulation in your physical environment can create different types of emotions in your customers. This leads them to either approach or avoid your business. In other words, buy or not buy.

We’ve seen how different servicescape elements can really affect customer satisfaction in your business. The best part of it all is, it isn’t that hard to find inspiration. 

You may be put off by the idea that a makeover may be expensive and hard work, but if you get creative there are loads of ways you can improve the look, feel (and scent) of your business without it costing too much. 

Ask the people who matter most – your customers. Are there any changes they would like to see? If there are, make them. If those changes keep your existing customers happy, there’s a good chance they will attract new customers too.  

That way, the benefits you receive after your makeover will make all that paint-splashed clothing and hard graft worthwhile.

So activate your senses, work on your servicescape meaning, and see what you can do to spice up your business. You will soon see the rewards!


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