Business services encompass a broad range of activities that assist businesses yet do not involve the production or sale of tangible goods. They include support functions such as accounting and consulting, warehousing and marketing, as well as organizational activities like human resources and information technology. In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven an increase in outsourcing and technological developments have made business services even more flexible.
The success or failure of a service business depends on the quality and efficiency of its delivery process and the satisfaction of its customers. To meet these needs, a wide variety of operational techniques have been developed. The most basic of these involve making sure that employees have the tools they need to deliver service. This can be as simple as providing a tool kit for new hires, as complicated as a set of principles for effective communication between different parts of a company or even as complex as training for a specific job.
In addition to these internal processes, external providers of business services also play a crucial role. They can offer specialized expertise and experience that a company does not have in-house. They can provide flexibility to meet changing output demands, and they can be more cost-effective than hiring in-house staff.
Another important feature of business services is that they cannot be stockpiled in the same way as physical products can. They have to be provided when they are needed, and this is one of the main differences between them and goods. In order to ensure that a service meets demand, it is vital to involve the customer in the process.
This involves ensuring that the service is relevant to the customer, and it also involves providing a level of customer intimacy. The latter is achieved by establishing a relationship with the customer in which the service is personalized and tailored to the individual. The best examples of this are customer loyalty programs or the personalization of a product or service through web based platforms.
For example, a company might provide in-office childcare to help its employees balance work and home life. Or it might contract with an extermination company to rid its workplace of pests, which helps ensure the health and safety of its employees. Another common form of business service is maintenance, which can be as simple as fixing a broken light fixture or as complex as managing an entire building’s energy use and securing its IT network.
A career in business services may be a good fit for those who are comfortable working in a fast-paced environment, Spinelli says. However, she warns that those who do not handle stress well should avoid these types of jobs. In these roles, you will often have to deal with urgent or unexpected situations, so it is important to be able to adapt quickly and remain productive. Also, some business services jobs require travel to client sites or meetings, so you should be able to work remotely when necessary.