Business services are activities that benefit companies without delivering tangible products. They include all work that supports a company’s operations but does not produce an identifiable product, such as information technology support and shipping.
There are three main types of business services: business-to-business, business-to-consumer and social. Business-to-business services, which include supply-chain management and logistics, help other businesses operate more efficiently and reduce costs. These services also help other businesses meet customer needs more effectively. Business-to-consumer services, such as restaurants and retail stores, provide experiences to consumers.
In many countries, the service sector is a significant part of the economy. A successful service business requires a strong focus on four critical areas: managing customers, designing operations, enabling employees and building service infrastructure. In addition, service businesses must understand that their workers are both service providers and service consumers.
Employees of a service company are often directly involved in operational processes, which can affect the cost and quality of the service they deliver. For example, if a worker at an architectural firm takes too long to explain the purpose of a new project to a client, that will slow down the work process and may make it less efficient for everyone else in the office. Similarly, a customer who dithers at a fast-food counter can affect the speed and quality of the service for everyone behind him.
Many companies outsource business services to reduce their overhead and free up valuable employee time for other tasks. For example, a company might hire a cleaning service to handle the day-to-day cleaning of its headquarters and other locations. Alternatively, it might contract with a tech support service to troubleshoot any problems with its computer network or other equipment.