Business services are activities that benefit companies without supplying physical products. They include a wide range of offerings that are important to the success of many different types of businesses. These services help companies with marketing, production, safety, cost and convenience. Some common examples of business services are a catering service, an IT consulting firm or a graphic design company.
The Business services sector is one of the largest sectors within the European economy, accounting for 11% of EU GDP. It is becoming increasingly important to the manufacturing industry as a way to add value through new combinations of goods and services. It is also being used to complement existing goods and services, helping to increase efficiency, improve customer experience and deliver more innovative products.
A key feature of business services is that they are primarily focused on intangibles. This is in contrast to goods which are measurable, tangible items that can be stockpiled for future use or exchanged for another good. Some common examples of business services are IT consultancy, management, training and payroll services.
In addition to a focus on intangibles, a key difference between business services and goods is that services must be provided on demand. For example, a person cannot order a business service like a taxi ride and store the service for later, but instead must call the company whenever they need it.
Another difference is that a customer’s input can directly impact the quality of a service. For example, if a customer dithers at a fast-food counter, it will slow down the speed of service for everyone behind him. Similarly, the design of an architectural firm’s new building may be influenced by the customer’s comments.
Successful service businesses have a working plan that incorporates four critical elements called the service model. This approach recognizes that the nature of a service business is different from that of a product business, and it helps managers develop a tool kit to manage this different type of enterprise.
The leadership style required to run a service business is often less centralized than in a product company, but it must be strong to balance the competitive autonomy of revenue-generating line managers and the collective value of shared services. This requires senior managers who are able to assert their influence over revenue-generating managers, but who can also recognize that the core elements of service design must work together to drive a successful business. Otherwise, the company could fail to meet its business goals and objectives. This is why it’s so crucial to have an effective business strategy in place that addresses the needs and expectations of a target market.