The Significance of Computers in Our Lives

2010; mankind has come a long way since the first discovery of fire a few hundred thousand years ago. Fire used to be a necessity then, now the computer is a necessity for us as we use it in our daily lives.

One way computers help us is in our lives. We use the computer to communicate with people such as web conferencing with friends who are overseas, to look up on information about a particular topic, socialize on social networks such as Facebook or even to do something as simple as sending an email or digital cards to friends and loved ones.

The computer has also managed to change us from reading hard copies of books, magazines and newspapers, to reading online digital documents such as online newspaper articles and e-books.

In education, lecturers are now using PowerPoint to make their lecture slides which are used during their lectures and students are now able to download the lecture slides into their computers and store it as reading documents.

In the working place, paperwork is now slowly converting from manual printing and keeping documents to storing documents in the computer. The problem with paperwork is that it takes up a lot of space and an office has limited space. Moreover, going digital will help the environment as there will be less demand for paper which results in lesser trees being cut down to be made into paper.

However, there have been some issues raised about digital documents. A digital document can be created and edited by anyone, thus this leads to the owner verification problem. It is dangerous in the working environment, because anyone can edit a contract or agreement after it has been signed and used it against the other party. Another problem would be if one accidentally deletes the document, it will be hard to trace the perpetrator and also very hard to retrace the document.

Services Marketing

Services marketing has incurred an explosive amount of scholarly research in the last 20 years, however since 1986 there has been no debate concerning the notion that services are distinct from products, and thus deserve a special approach, a set of concepts and a body of knowledge (Brown, Fisk, & Bitner, 1994). This essay will explain the distinguishing features of services marketing, giving examples where possible. It will begin by defining services marketing and giving some background knowledge on its divergence from product marketing. It will then examine the four characteristics of services, and then finish with an explanation of the extra P’s found in the services marketing mix.

In the last century there has been a large shift in marketing thought; evolving from a goods-dominated view, in which tangible output and discrete transactions were the focus, to a service-dominant view, in which intangibility, exchange processes, and relationships are central (Vargo & Lusch, 2004). Vargo and Lusch define services as the application of specialized competences (knowledge and skills) through deeds, processes, and performances for the benefit of another entity or the entity itself. Four idiosyncratic features of services will now be given, highlighting why services marketing is different from basic product marketing.

Arguably the most distinguishing feature about services is their intangibility. Services are defined in (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2006) as “deeds, processes, and performances”. None of these are physical objects in which a customer can take ownership of, even though during a service physical evidence will be apparent in the form of things like medicine the doctors prescribes to you, the photo taken of you riding the rollercoaster, or the food on your plate in a restaurant. This invisibility creates a number of issues for marketers. Firstly there is no stock, making it hard to manage supply and demand. Secondly services cannot be shown or displayed to customers, making it hard for marketers to advertise the quality of the service. And finally, because services don’t physically exist, there is difficulty in patenting them, making it easy for other firms to copy your service.

Another notable aspect about products is that on average they stay the same. If you buy a Ford Focus here in Australia, and then go and buy the same model in America, chances are they will both be exactly the same. Services are different in that they are heterogeneous, meaning they differ with each use. For example a wildlife tour will never be the same twice, not only because of the random and unpredictable nature of the animals, but the guide may be in a different mood, the weather will have changed, and there will be different customers each time. These factors make it harder to consistently give quality service, which is important to marketers because customers will have a particular set of expectations in mind, based primarily on what was promoted in the service and previous experiences in the particular industry.

Another distinguishable feature about services is the fact that it’s both produced and consumed at the same time, as opposed to products where customers do not see how the product is manufactured. A good metaphor for this is being at the theatre. Consumers can be compared to an audience, where they watch actors (employees) perform on stage (physical location like a business store) amongst props (physical objects like chairs, tables, pot plants etc). The actors are ‘live’ and performing (producing) at the same time as the audience are watching (consuming). This brings us to the concept of interactive marketing. In a service, operational staff carries out much of the marketing function (Klassen, Russel, & Chrisman, 1998), and marketers are left to the advertising and promotion.

The final distinction that differentiates services from products is their perishability. While some products perish very quickly (like water balloons), services simply cannot be stored, saved, resold or returned at all. Marketers main concern would be the procedure for when things do not go as planned. Customers cannot simply return the service and ask for another one; it is up to the service provider to offer the customer some kind of compensation. If passengers are forced to wait a long time for their flight, employees could provide free coffee and refreshments while they wait, in an attempt to make up for their failing service.

With product marketing the marketing mix includes the four P’s; product, price, place and promotion. Services use the same elements plus three more to help account for their unique nature.

Firstly there is people, which comprise of everyone that influences the buyer’s perceptions, including the buyer themselves. Customers have an active role in the production, and thus can influence the outcome of their own service or the service of others. For example a large family with screaming children interrupting a young couples romantic dinner at a restaurant.

Every person is important to the marketer, no matter how small their role may be. Consider an IT professional who installs computers in people’s homes. During that installation the buyer may form an opinion of the service provider as a whole based purely on that IT professionals performance. Sometimes a person is the sole service provider, for example a dentist or lawyer, making their performance and appearance critical to gaining a high perceived quality of service.

The sixth ‘P’ is physical evidence, which is the environment in which the service is delivered and where the firm and customer interact (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2006). It also includes any physical objects that assist in the delivery of the service. (Lehtinen & Lehtinen, 1991) define it as the environment and its instruments. With some services customers may find it hard to judge the quality of the service, especially with credence service’s like financial advisors or legal advice. It is crucial that marketing managers address consumer fears regarding risk that results before, during, and after consumption of credence services (Keh & Sun, 2008). Since the customer does not have the knowledge or experience to judge the actual service, they instead turn their attention to other things, including the physical evidence of service quality. This would usually come in the form of a professional looking workspace, however would change with each service provider. For example in a doctors surgery cleanliness would be expected.

Finally there is the service process, including the procedures, mechanisms and flow of activities by which the service is delivered (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2006). When purchasing a service, customers often have a set of expectations of the process of the service, and when these are not met, the perceived quality of service drops. For example in white water rafting a customer might be dissatisfied if, when they arrived, they were told they had to carry the raft to the top of the river first. The process is important because people participate in it, unlike products, where the process is behind doors.

Services represent at least 70% of the nation’s total GDP for at least 5 countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, making it a hot topic for not only marketers, but anyone competing in the business world. Services are distinguished from products by four characteristics; intangibility, they are heterogeneous, there is simultaneous production and consumption, and their perishability. Services marketing differs from product marketing from the fact that three extra P’s are added to the original marketing mix; people, physical evidence and process.

What Are FSA Employment Checks?

The pre employment background checks are the standard procedure for hiring in almost every successful organization. The FSA checklist is a useful tool to use for verification and better assessment of the potential employees.

The Key FSA Employment Checks include the following areas

1- Past Employer Reference

2- Education Document Authentication

3- Character Reference

4- Identity and Address verification

5- Credit History and similar issues

6- Criminal History

7- Directorship History (where applicable)

The FSA Employment checks include some few key steps like the cross verification of the references being provided. It depends upon the nature of the job for which person has been selected to really seek the back ground reference checks. For the person being considered on sensitive jobs, this reference can be started right from the first employment.

The verification of the Education credentials is done too; the universities or the institute where the person has graduated is asked for the authentication of documents too. This is important step if you are hiring a person from another country. Although there are certain degrees that might be accredited for being equal to U.S. degree, but most of the time gaps can be there regarding the whole study curriculum being out dated.

The FSA Employee Checklist is important also as the CVs tend to over state and include a lot of information that might not be true, so better find out this before hand then later. The checking of relevant professional qualifications and licenses is important step for assessing the candidate capabilities in true light.

The character checks has significance too, as this verification alongside the criminal record or ID background can confirm the social standing of the employee easily. The directorship information can determine the candidate ability in so many others light also. There are some important clauses that can affect the selection process very easily in case of the director ship being involved so it’s important where applicable.

Benefits of Leisure and Recreation

Although it may not seem so, in reality, Leisure and Recreation is the largest industry in the world. The benefits of leisure and recreation as an important part of life are easy to see. As an industry, it offers a variety of related employment and creates billions of dollars in revenue. Workers in parks and recreation, community agencies, sports agencies, youth development organizations, non-profit organizations, rehab and hospital agencies, the travel and entertainment industries all utilize and benefit from parks and recreation facilities world-wide. Additional benefits of leisure and recreation include environmental improvements from expanding green spaces, health benefits, and personal satisfaction benefits.

There are many civic benefits of leisure and recreation activities. Sports and youth activities offer leadership development for adults and children. Strong communities are built as parks become a hub of community life. Benefits extend to all ages, childhood, youth, young adults, families, and seniors. Both care for environment and wellness through green spaces are enhanced by beauty. This same beauty helps combat stress through the opportunity for mild exercise and mediation upon natural beauty. Wilderness experiences are available in some locations.

For personal benefits, leisure activities may include:








Family Bonding

Physical benefits include increased lung capacity from sports participation, plus reducing serum cholesterol and hypertension, increasing bone mass, strengthening the spine, reducing disease, increase in feelings of well being, reduction in stress hormones, improved attitudes and performances, and improved social skills. For childhood development, recreational areas assist in learning, can keep kids off the streets, and enhance their confidence. Studies confirm that physical activity can aid the learning process in children. Sports activities enhance large motor skill development and social skills. Adult leaders offer positive role models to children. Group sports are well known for promoting social support, networking, and developing friendships.

As if all the above is not enough to encourage support of leisure and recreational activities, consider the following additional benefits:

Stress management – the mild stress of leisure activity can reduce overall negative stress by contributing to relaxation.

Self esteem – especially in children and seniors, mild exercise, group activities, and hobbies and crafts will help create positive self images.

Positive lifestyle development – contributing to society, social interaction, development of leaders, being part of organized sports all encourage good lifetime activities.

Personal satisfaction – any creative outlet will enhance personal satisfaction. Being part of the leadership offers self satisfaction, and those who work in the recreational areas can feel the pride in keeping these areas vital and available to others.

Quality of life – fresh air, sunshine, social interaction, health benefits and self esteem all will improve quality of life.

Preventative health – regular exercise, physiological benefits from mild exercise, and stress reduction all are made easier by having leisure and recreational activities readily available.

Since the future seems to be headed for a shorter work week and more extra time, support of leisure and recreational outlets and locations would be prudent, and benefit all involved.