Business services are various tasks and activities that help maintain a business, even though they don’t produce a physical product. They are a large sector of the economy, covering many different industries. They include such things as information technology, which assists numerous other business services, and administrative assistance, such as arranging travel or sending out invoices.
A successful service company must be adept at managing four critical areas. These are: customer-facing front-line employees, process design, employee training, and communication. Each of these areas is important in its own right, but they are all interconnected. The four elements must work together to create the overall service experience.
Unlike goods, which are stocked in inventory and stored until needed, services cannot be stored for future use. This means that they must be provided as requested. This is why it is essential to build systems for accepting online bookings, quoting work, scheduling jobs, and invoicing clients. These systems make the flow of work more efficient. It also allows for consistent quality control, so that every job is completed in the same way and that client expectations are met.
In addition, because customers are involved in the transaction, service can be affected by their behavior. For example, if a customer dithers at a fast-food counter, it will affect the speed of service for everyone behind him. Similarly, a poorly trained or rude employee will negatively impact the perception of the company.
Another aspect that distinguishes business services from goods is the fact that they are not fungible. They must be used as soon as they are provided. This is why it is so important to train front-line employees well. It is a common mistake for companies to over-reward revenue-generating managers and undervalue those responsible for shared services. This can lead to competition between revenue-generating line managers and those who manage shared service models, which is ultimately detrimental to both.
Some of the most common business services are utilities, real estate services, and those related to employee well-being. For instance, many companies contract with day care and childcare providers so that employees can go to work without having to worry about their children. Utility services such as water and electricity are important for ensuring that workplaces can operate efficiently.
In addition, companies often hire maintenance professionals to keep equipment functioning properly. For example, if an office refrigerator breaks down, hiring an appliance repair company is a better option than buying a new one. Finally, companies need technical support services to troubleshoot problems with computer networks or other technology. This helps ensure that employees can remain productive. This is especially important for high-tech companies that rely on complex systems.