In business, service means providing value to customers. Businesses can provide customer services in many different ways, including training employees or allowing them to interact with clients through social media channels. A company can also help customers solve problems or make decisions by providing information and advice. Companies that deliver business services often offer a competitive advantage over their competitors because they provide customers with an experience that is unique or more personal.
Service is a large industry, accounting for about one-third of the U.S. economy, according to the Economic Sectors of the United States Census Bureau. The service industry includes a wide range of industries such as entertainment, tourism, retailing and consulting. The largest category of the service industry, however, is business services. Business services are the third-largest segment of the economy and include any activity that helps a business run smoothly.
There are three major types of business services: business-to-business, business-to-consumer and consumer-to-business. Business-to-business services help other businesses for a flat or hourly rate and include activities such as IT support, human resources outsourcing and supply chain management. Business-to-consumer or consumer-to-business services are activities that help individuals or households with their work such as marketing, advertising, promotion and sales outsourcing.
A service can be defined as any activity that involves the exchange of something of value between two parties, such as a professional consulting or education. The business service industry is one of the largest and fastest growing parts of the global economy, accounting for about a third of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012. This growth stems from the fact that consumers are spending more on services than goods as they strive to maintain their standard of living and get ahead in the job market.
Unlike products, which can be stored for future consumption, services are consumed immediately after they are produced. Therefore, it is important to focus on creating a service that will meet a customer’s needs and wants as quickly as possible. The service design process is a key element in delivering value to customers and can be broken down into four critical elements:
Companies that provide business services can benefit from focusing on the importance of employee-customer interaction. They can achieve a competitive edge by improving the way they interact with their customers and making sure that their employees are well-trained and knowledgeable. By improving the customer experience, a company can gain a loyal following and generate referrals. Companies that provide a good level of customer service can differentiate themselves from their competitors by highlighting the benefits and convenience of their products or services. These might include convenient store hours, friendly interactions with employees, extended scope of service or lower prices. Customers may then compare the company’s service offerings and choose a provider that best suits their needs. This approach can lead to long-term loyalty, which is especially valuable in a tough job market.