Business services are industry sectors that support the operations, infrastructure, or productivity of businesses. Essentially, they help companies focus on strategic-based goals while outsourcing labor that requires specific expertise or is too time-consuming. Examples of business services include accounting, IT services, legal services, marketing, and consulting. They can be provided by firms that specialize in those services or in-house.
Unlike products, which can be stored for future use or sold to others, services are consumed immediately. Therefore, the success or failure of a service company largely depends on how well it manages four areas:
1. Designing services to meet customer needs and expectations.
While product designers focus on the characteristics that customers will value, service designers must shift their perspectives to understand the experiences that customers want and need. They must also learn how to measure and improve the performance of service processes, which is more difficult than measuring and improving the performance of physical products. Moreover, service managers must realize that service delivery is a continuous process and that a single event or interaction can influence the overall experience. For instance, a customer who dithers at a fast-food counter may affect the speed and quality of the service for everyone behind him or her. Consequently, service designers must continually refine and adjust their offerings to reflect customer preferences and competitive conditions.