Business services are the non-financial activities that support businesses but do not deliver a tangible product. Companies use business services to help with things like marketing, consulting, waste handling, staffing and shipping. Business services are considered the tertiary sector of the economy, after manufacturing and the primary and secondary sectors that produce physical goods and commodities.
There are three types of business services: business-to-business, social and professional services. Business-to-business, or B2B, services help other businesses for a fee, while social services benefit the public and are funded by taxes rather than sales. Professional services are specialized jobs such as law or accounting that provide advice and assistance to individuals and businesses.
One of the biggest challenges for a service business is designing its offering so that it attracts customers and retains them. Unlike product designers, who focus on what characteristics buyers will value, service designers must think about the experience customers want to have.
The success of a service business often comes down to how well the four critical elements of service design pull together. For example, if a customer’s interaction with an employee is pleasant or unfriendly, that can affect their satisfaction with the overall experience.
The four key elements are: delivering, creating, communicating and measuring the service. The service must be delivered to the right customer at the right time, create value for the consumer and communicate it clearly so that consumers understand what is being provided. Additionally, the service must be measurable so that the company can evaluate its effectiveness.