Business services are activities that support a company’s goals but don’t produce a physical commodity. Companies that provide this type of assistance typically focus on one or more aspects of a product or service and are often called consultants, contractors, outsourcers or providers. Examples of business services include translation and interpretation, computer support, software development, accounting and more. The success of a service business often comes down to how well the provider understands and meets its customers’ needs.
Service businesses usually have four common attributes. They are intangible, require a significant level of customer interaction, must be continuously available and they need to be customized to each client. The intangibility of a service means that it can’t be stored like inventory but must be provided as soon as demand appears. For example, a mental health counselor’s advice/therapy cannot be saved for future use; the counseling is delivered as soon as the patient enters the office.
The level of interaction required by a service business is also a key factor in its success. While products can be designed to meet a specific customer’s need, it is more important for a service company to design its offering around the expectations and preferences of a target audience. This requires a shift in the thinking of managers from product-centric perspectives to experience-centric ones. Providing a high-quality and consistent experience is the best way for a business to earn its customers’ loyalty and ensure that it can continue operating successfully.