Business services are a category of intangible goods that support business operations but cannot be directly sold. These include information technology, shipping, procurement, finance, etc.
The business services industry includes businesses providing a wide variety of non-financial services to companies, and can be found in virtually every sector of the economy. These services include advertising, marketing, consultation, travel and facility management, waste handling, staffing, shipping and administration.
A key challenge for business services firms is to develop an offering that meets customers’ needs and expectations, while also being profitable. A successful service business must meet customer demand in areas like convenience, cost-effectiveness, quality and customer interaction.
In order to do this, service managers must develop an operational plan that integrates four elements: (i) design, (ii) delivery, (iii) cost and (iv) people. These four elements work together to ensure that a service’s performance is effective and profitable, and helps to ensure customer satisfaction.
The service industry is a growing industry in the EU, with an estimated annual growth rate of 3.8% from 2013-2020, according to Statista. The industry is facing low average productivity and persisting legal barriers, but EU Internal Market legislation and policy actions aim at removing these obstacles and stimulating competition in the sector.
Business services are an important industry to the European economy, contributing 11% of GDP. These services have been undergoing substantial change as a result of new technologies and digitalization. Startups have sprung up worldwide with business solutions that are innovative, flexible and sustainable.