Business services are transactions that focus on intangibles instead of goods or products. For instance, when a company hires a cleaning service for its office, it’s not buying a mop or broom; it’s paying to have the work done. Business services can help companies save time, money or both. They can also help businesses provide superior experiences to their customers. The success or failure of a business service operation depends on four things: its design, implementation, delivery and value.
Companies use a variety of business services to maintain or improve their work environment and increase productivity. These include janitorial services, which handle cleanup tasks and waste removal, as well as landscaping services, which beautify workspaces. Some business services can even help improve employee morale. For example, some companies offer in-office day care for employees with children, which makes it easier for them to balance family life and career. Other common services include delivery services, which allow companies to purchase goods without leaving their offices, and transportation services, which facilitate the shipping of business-related items.
Many of these services are used by business-to-business, or B2B, firms. Business-to-consumer, or B2C, firms also utilize them, but they tend to pay more for these services than businesses do.
In addition to providing a range of auxiliary services, these firms also support a wide array of product-related functions. For example, they may perform sorting, packaging and labeling of bulk goods; control and manage inventory; do light assembly; mark prices; and even perform distribution services. Companies can use these business services to improve the speed and accuracy of relationships between manufacturers and their customers.
Another area in which business services play a role is providing information technology (IT) services to business users. These can involve an entire IT department or a set of dedicated staff members. The aim is to align IT assets with business needs and to make sure that the business can be productive.
The key to successful business-to-business services is strong leadership. Revenue-generating line managers must be able to exert influence over shared services managers in order to ensure that these teams deliver what the business needs. This is often difficult because the managers involved in service models are often competing against one another for the same resources and talent. For example, a sales manager who wants to hire an employee for his department might prioritize a candidate who has greater experience in selling to business customers. This can cause conflicts in the team’s priorities and compromise its ability to deliver. Ideally, the leader of a business-to-business service should have sufficient seniority to overrule a sales or marketing manager in critical strategic moments. This is why it’s important to establish a clear structure in which to organize business-to-business management and allocate authority. It’s also crucial to have effective communication between revenue-generating managers and the shared services departments that their teams oversee. If not, the resulting conflict can stifle business growth. This can be especially problematic in a rapidly growing market like India’s, where the need for such services has grown exponentially in recent years.