Business services are activities that assist companies without delivering a physical product. They include marketing, consultation, logistics (including travel and facilities services), waste handling, staffing services, shipping, administration and security services to name just a few. Almost every company in operation needs some form of business service.
Typically, business-to-business (B2B) services are billed on a per-hour or per-project basis. These services are intended to help businesses save money and operate more efficiently. Examples of B2B services are consulting, IT support, human resources and legal advice. Other services are designed to help a company get started, such as a new software system or a marketing campaign. These types of services are often considered part of the “knowledge economy,” which is one of the fastest-growing segments of the global economy.
In contrast, business-to-consumer (B2C) services are those that sell directly to individual customers. These types of services are usually sold on a per-use or subscription basis, and they might be intended to help a company with its productivity, reduce costs or improve its reputation. Examples of B2C services are graphic design, accounting, and professional training.
Many companies outsource their business services, as they may not have the necessary expertise in-house to do them properly. This practice is common, and it can save a lot of time and money in the long run. Outsourcing can also provide a higher quality of work, as employees who are solely focused on the task at hand will be able to focus more energy on it.
Companies that offer services on a large scale may employ their own employees to perform these tasks, in addition to using third-party contractors. They can be located anywhere in the world and serve a wide range of industries. For example, a janitorial service might specialize in cleaning offices, while another focuses on providing landscaping services for large corporations.
As the business world continues to evolve and become more complex, many of its traditional tools are being refined or replaced altogether. As such, it’s important for managers to be aware of the changes and adjust their practices accordingly.
For example, the ways in which customers interact with businesses are changing. Previously, the relationship between customer and business was a purely transactional one. Today, however, customers are able to become involved in operational processes in a much more significant way. Customers can influence the cost and quality of a service, and they can also have a direct impact on how fast a company’s products are produced.
A customer who dithers at the counter of a fast-food restaurant can slow down the line for everyone behind him. Similarly, an architectural firm might not be as successful as it could be if its clients don’t clearly understand what they want from the project. Consequently, firms are now using new techniques to better understand how to craft profitable business services that deliver on their promises. The result is a more accurate understanding of what it takes to succeed in a service-based economy.