Whether you own a small business or manage a large corporation, two basic things are required to keep your company afloat: a product and customers willing to pay for that product. As the economy evolves, more companies are turning away from traditional product-based businesses and toward service-based industries. If your company falls into this category, it is important to understand how to successfully market your services in the competitive environment. The first step is understanding the advantages that a service business has over a product-based business.
Services are intangible, meaning they don’t produce a physical product that can be stored for future use. Rather, a service is consumed immediately in order to satisfy a customer demand or expectation. This means that services must be continuously adjusted to meet changing demands and to ensure quality of service.
Another unique characteristic of service businesses is that their customers are directly involved in many operational processes. This may be due to a need for clarification of requirements or expectations, establishing service-level agreements or simply the need for input. For example, a customer who dithers at a fast-food counter can make the service experience less efficient for everyone behind him. As a result, service businesses need to develop strategies that will allow for customer involvement while limiting the impact on operational efficiency.
A service business provides a variety of services, ranging from marketing and consulting to logistics, travel, facilities management, waste handling and staffing services. Some of these services are delivered in a physical location, such as a retail store or office space, while others are provided remotely over the Internet. In general, the main goal of a service business is to help companies focus on their core business operations. This can be achieved through the use of outsourcing services, which allow companies to avoid having to hire their own employees and invest in the necessary equipment.
One of the most important things to remember about a service business is that it must be staffed with people who can effectively communicate with customers, meet their needs and deliver an excellent customer experience. While this may seem obvious, it is often overlooked when starting a service business. Employees must be trained to communicate clearly and quickly, and they should have a thorough understanding of the service they provide. They also need to be able to resolve customer problems in an effective and timely manner.
In addition, successful service businesses must create a work environment that supports their service delivery model. This requires a clear separation between the revenue-generating line managers and those responsible for shared services. Without a clear separation, revenue-generating managers are likely to overrule the decisions of shared services managers, which can undermine the performance of the entire system. It is also important to establish a strong service culture within the organization, which involves creating a common vision for customer satisfaction and providing training and support to all employees.