Co-written by myself and account manager at BNOTIONS mobile development, Marco Tomada.
In many of today’s B2B businesses, service is often a product. We optimize for ‘client experience,’ we think in features (additions that may be helpful to the client), and a problem being solved. In many ways, a service does not differ from a product all that much. We could even go as far to say that yes, a service is a product.
For example, let’s take a look at the service of strategy for a moment. Strategy is a difficult service to bill for, it can be vague, time consuming, resource intensive, and most importantly, intangible – in it’s infancy. However, a good strategy, at the end of the day, is a product that all other products can be built from. Creative, technology, production, and integration are all driven from the strategy as components to a larger delivery. In many ways it is the first in building blocks in everything from build a business, to building a product, to building— a service.
Think of Strategy as the architectural plans to the house. The plan is a physical product that will change along the way, but is always the guideline for execution. Although different architects charge different rates, the good ones know how much research, consultation, and effort will be involved. Knowing all the elements (features) involved helps them understand a pricing model to follow, not based on hours alone or IP, but rather for the collective time and effort involved for the first building block to be completed (the product). The final product is a plan that all other contributors to the home building process will check back to throughout the process. This plan will change along the way, and tradesmen will need to make adjustments on the fly, but the plan is the core of the building that everyone will need to stick to for proper execution.
Let the Strategy be your architectural plan and think of it like making a purchase decision for a product. It will always be a service, but if you approach it as a product to be delivered to guide the rest of the execution, it will be easier for both the client and the service provider to see the value.
In fact, this approach can be applied to all levels of service in the same way. Think of everyday services, your barista in the morning, your waiter at lunch, the software you use that you pay for monthly while at your desk; these are all examples of products in their entirety. You expect each service to solve a problem, create an amazing experience, with features that make this product’s use easier. At a restaurant, your server adds features like keeping your water glass full, telling you the specials in a compelling way, and making sure everything is on time. It is the product of this interaction that makes for a great purchase decision, so when we look at the value, we must look at the whole of the product, not the connotation of service.