Business services are an easily recognizable subset of other economic services, and yet share many characteristics with the other services we look to for assistance. The key difference, however, is that business services are primarily concerned with the development of service strategies to deliver value both to their clients and as proactive service providers and ultimately to act as service consumers and service providers. It is often difficult to ascertain which is the first, but not the latter, because the selling of goods and services is one activity where the selling of someone else’s product can be seen as a subset of selling of your own. The selling of a good or service, then, is a subset of activities undertaken by others: the supplier, the manufacturer, the broker, the salesperson, the banker and the public postal carrier.
It is worth distinguishing between two fundamentally different subsets of business services: those undertaken by the supplier or the manufacturer, and those by the service provider. The two types of activities associated with each subset can be thought of as independent or mixed activities. The supplier delivers the goods and/or services to the customer while the manufacturer provides intermediate (in the form of components) and final components in support of the delivery.
The second type of business services is primarily service-oriented, as against the first, and it involves production of output-oriented items. One example is the computer industry, which not only provides computers, but also computer-based business services such as sales, marketing, technical support and training services. Consulting services would be considered part of this second category, but are clearly distinguished from manufacturing by the focus on production. In this way, it can be seen as a subset of manufacturing, although the products produced by the consulting services are much more specialized than those produced by the computer industry. In this way, it can also be seen as a subset of the service industry.
There are many types of business services that are not consulting services. The list includes marketing, information technology, real estate, human resources, and a number of others. The list continues to grow, as new technological developments make previously complex tasks much easier to perform. These business services also tend to be categorized in different ways, depending on the expertise of the professional who performs them.
For instance, there are business services such as accounting, business development, financial services and human resources management. There are consulting services such as information technology, software services and human resources management. There are business services such as engineering services, business analysis and financial services. There are even business services such as legal services, business law and business negotiation.
In addition to the broadening of the business services that are available to customers and potential customers, the business services include a broadening of what are considered to be sub-categories within these broad categories. For example, in the business services category, training services, training advice and instructional reading material all come under the heading of consulting. This is why some of the books written on the subject of business management also include a few pages devoted to “training services,” as if those were actually sub-categories of consulting. Such books do give an overall view of the consulting industry, but tend to group some of the most important aspects together, such as training services.
One of the new business services is retail banking. This is an area where the benefits of the internet and technology are combined with changes in business practices. The old business services of carrying cash and processing customer transactions by mail have been replaced by new business services such as online or wireless merchant services and electronic check processing. The customer transaction can now be accomplished by using a debit card or a credit card. The funds are deposited into an account electronically. This has made retail banking more convenient for customers, while also allowing the customer to make purchases using money from their bank accounts, which is convenient for both the bank and the retailer.
Another example of a business service includes the emerging field of mobile device banking. Mobile device services involve wireless communication devices such as cellular phones and portable computers. The banks that provide such services have made the process of paperless banking easy for consumers by taking away the need to carry a traditional banking diary with you all the time. Such devices are capable of providing a balance and giving regular account information.