Business services are a recognisable subset of non-economic services, and much of their value is in their intangible characteristics. The key difference is that companies typically are concerned with the construction of service systems to deliver value to customers and also to act as a service provider and or service clients. In business terms, the latter role is considered to be the driving force behind the latter (the provision of value) rather than the salesperson or marketing executive. Therefore, while both are crucial for building the support for an organisation, they are usually performed by different people, with one performing the primary role and the other performing the secondary roles. The traditional examples of such separate functions are Finance and Admin, but in most organisations, business service roles are co-operating, meaning they are responsible for delivering value to a wider clientele, rather than being exclusive to a particular group of people.
The value delivered by business services has been called many things over the years, from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to training and technical support. However, the key area where they all come together is in the delivery of value. This is perhaps the true purpose of the concept: to make a difference to the customer, to meet their needs, to offer an improvement to them, and so on. At its simplest, this is achieved by assisting the organisation in finding solutions to their particular problems. For example, say you wanted to promote your new product line – would you call your existing supplier? Or would you search out the most relevant independent supplier online, through specialist procurement channels, taking into account the benefits of using this person, rather than your existing supplier?
Within a business services function, there are four main categories of activities which, in turn, define the scope of the service industry. These are market research, integrated planning, buying, integrated selling, and customer service. Of these, only market research (and buying) are really ‘business services’ as it requires knowledge of how to find new opportunities for gain, as well as the expertise to find a profitable business model to underpin this activity.
As for integrated planning buying, this is related to selling but incorporates elements of both marketing and production into the process. There are some examples of integrated selling strategies that have been successfully tried and tested in practice, such as Disney’s successful business services strategy, where business services were used to maximize the company’s competitive advantage. It involved buying a range of digital media, creating an information and communication hub, developing a brand identity, and then selling the output through a massive network of distribution channels. Of course, this is a highly simplified version of integrated planning, buying; other more involved examples include Apple’s contract manufacturing or Toyota’s supplier-based production.
The third and final type of business services, we’ll look at is the customer service industry. In terms of the wider definition, this includes the more traditional departments of accounting, HR, law, and customer service, all of which are integral parts of any business organisation. The customer service industry is based on the idea that the success of any business lies in its ability to satisfy or resolve customer needs. It, therefore, encompasses the whole gamut of services that any business may offer, from advice and guidance to providing a high-quality after-sales service.
So as you can see, there are four main business services and market segments within the consumer-oriented sector. Some of the most popular business services within this sector include financial services (including bank loans, mortgages, overdrafts, credit cards, etc. ), telemarketing, travel, insurance, and IT.
Business services are a recognisable subset of economic development, and share many of the same characteristics as other economic services. The key difference is that companies providing these services are primarily concerned with the construction of service networks to deliver economic value directly to customers and as responsible service consumers themselves. For example, a financial service organisation would supply advisory, fiscal, risk management, payroll, and recruitment services direct to its clients.
The key to understanding this division better is to appreciate that business services are, first and foremost, market-oriented activities. That is, they seek to profit from the exchange of one service for another. For instance, the construction of a new plant or machinery could help a manufacturer to compete better with other manufacturers in the same industry; but it would be impossible for the manufacturer to do so if he did not also have the infrastructure to support that new plant. Therefore, the construction company, in addition to being market-oriented, must also have an engineering firm or a construction agency to support the project. At the same time, it must be able to build the infrastructure itself, as well, to allow it to serve as a service provider to the customer.
The second aspect to appreciate about business services is that they are aimed at ensuring that the clients themselves benefit from their interactions with the firms. For instance, financial services need to ensure that they are up-to-date on accounting and tax rules, as well as ensure that they are reporting to their clients in a timely manner. Likewise, in terms of manufacturing, it is vital for businesses providing these services to provide quality control, efficient logistics, and up-to-date site cleanliness to ensure that they manufacture to high standards.
With these in mind, business owners must always ensure that their services get regularly evaluated by their service providers. In other words, if they are not up-to-date, then clients will find this out, and they might reject them. As a result, business owners will often try to make sure that they are up-to-date on relevant business services so that clients find them acceptable. Of course, clients will not be impressed if they learn that the firm has not changed its methods since the last time they had a discussion. This is why service models should constantly evolve with the industry, or else clients will find something else.
Thirdly, business owners must realize that having a clear strategy is crucial to profitability. Not only does this allow them to strategize for the future, but it also ensures that they are actually making profits and that their clients are aware of this fact. Only when they know what is going on, will they be motivated to give their businesses their full attention. In short, a good business model will always be grounded on realistic assumptions about how customers will react, whether or not it will bring profits, and how much it will cost them.
Above all, local entrepreneurs must keep in mind that profitability is always about numbers. It doesn’t matter if they are selling window washers or shoes. The important thing is whether they are getting enough customers in order to make a profit. This means that entrepreneurs should carefully check their numbers each month, especially during a slow time. The more accurate they are, the more quickly their organizations can adjust and increase profits. However, they should also remember that they are also responsible for monitoring their competitors and working hard to attract new customers so that they do not lose too many of their existing ones.
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