Business services is a general term for various activities that support the operations of a company but do not produce a tangible product. Examples of business services include information technology, which supports numerous other business services such as procurement, shipping and finance; and cleaning services, which are important for maintaining office spaces and ensuring the health of employees.
The service industry encompasses a major portion of the commercial world, and large companies rely on business services for all aspects of their work, including production, costs, marketing and logistics. Many different types of business services exist, and the specific services that a company offers will depend on the type of industry it is in. For example, a software service will provide security features to technological devices, such as computers and mobile phones, while a cleaning service will clean workspaces and remove trash.
In general, business-to-business, or B2B, services help other businesses for a flat fee or on an hourly basis. For example, a business travel service might book flights for executives, or a design firm may create logos, signs and publications for other firms. Supply-related business services can also fall under this category, such as a company that provides a delivery service for office supplies or a utility that charges commercial customers based on power consumption.
To succeed, a successful service business must effectively meet the needs and desires of an attractive group of customers. To do this, managers must adopt a new perspective that shifts the focus from products to experiences. This approach is known as the four critical elements of service design and is taught at Harvard Business School.