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Service Encounters

Negotiating Service

Identifying Negotiations of Service

While the opening and closing of any service encounter is important, the meat of most service encounters lies in the negotiation of services.  It is during this part of the interaction that the exchange of goods takes place. These exchanges include trading products, services, and information.

The most important aspect of the negotiation phase of the service encounter is understanding the interaction and negotiation that occurs between the client and the service provider.

Important Communicative Acts

In service encounters, negotiation happens through the use of two primary communicative acts: requests (usually by the client) and offers (usually by the vendor). The responses to each are then negotiated by the interlocutors.

Requests
In the request portion of a service encounter, the client usually asks for what he or she needs. This can be, for example, a product to buy, necessary information, or an appointment. These requests can be made using a number of different request strategies. These include:

Assertions

The client states what he or she needs.

Hola, busco unas sandalias negras.

Buenos días, necesito una cita con el médico lo más pronto posible.

 

 

Questions

The client asks for what he or she needs or inquires about an item.

¿Tiene algún pantalón en algodón?

¿Tiene pescado fresco hoy?

 

 

Want Statements

The client states what he or she desires.

Me gustaría ver lo que tienes en este color.

Buenas tardes, me interesa un viaje a las islas canarias.

 

 

Conditional Statements

The client states what he or she needs, if it is possible.

Sí tenés un viaje barato a Brasil, quisiera comprar dos boletos.

Querría ver la camiseta azul, si la tiene.

 

Examples and strategies adapted from Ferrer & Sánchez Lanza (2002)

Offers
The offer sequences are typically used by merchants to suggest other options for the clients if the service or item they desire is not available or to encourage the purchase of additional items. Offer strategies include:

Direct Offers

The merchant directly offers the service or product to the client.

Te puedo ofrecer un boleto de ida y vuelta a Monterrey.

Tengo una talla 44.

 

 

Suggestions & Negation

The merchant makes a statement suggesting something as an offer.

A ver si te gusta uno de estos.

¿Por qué no te pruebas este vestido?

 

 

Conditional Statements

The merchant uses a politeness strategy by not assuming that the client will want what he or she has to offer.

Si te gusta éste, le puedo conseguir tu talla.

Siéntate, si quieres.

 

 

The Use of Nosotros

The merchant refers to him or herself when offering something.

Lo que podríamos hacer es buscar en otro día.

Vamos a encontrar otro hotel.

 

 

Examples and strategies adapted from Chodorowska-Pilch (1999, 2002) and Ferrer & Sánchez Lanza (2002)

 

It's Your Turn

As you will see in the example below, negotiations for service often include more than one of these strategies used simultaneously or repeatedly. Play the interaction below between a vender and a client in Peru. This is a continuation of the opening segment you saw in the previous section. As you listen to the interaction, pay special attention to the strategies used for negotiating service.

 

En el mercado

A Peruvian woman goes to the market to buy vegetables. She and the vendor negotiate the sale.

List the requests that the client makes below. Then select the strategy each request represents.

Request Strategy

Assertion
Question
Conditional Statement
Want Statement

Now, list two of the offers the vendor makes below. Then select the strategy each request represents.

Direct Offer
Suggestion & Negation
Conditional Statement
Use of Nosotros

Direct Offer
Suggestion & Negation
Conditional Statement
Use of Nosotros

Are any of the vendor's offers accepted? Do you think this is surprising?

How do you think you would feel if you were the client? What would you do?

 
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