Service product management is a business model that governs service-based contracts and processes. A service product is the general name for a situation where something is done for a customer or a customer has specific access to a human subject expert. Unlike many product management processes, service product management usually doesn’t have an actual product to sell. This results in a totally different management style, often revolving more around logistics and timeframes than standard marketing.
The scope of service product management is enormous. In any case where human interaction or access is the greatest part of a sale, it is a service product rather than a standard product. Rather than focus totally on the end goal of a sale, service product management relies heavily on the parts leading up to monetary exchange.
Often, a service product advertises itself based on the appearance, competence or speed of its workers. Since the buyer’s interaction with the service worker makes up the bulk of the sale, it is important that the workers meet or exceed the buyer’s expectations. If the buyer has a poor impression of the worker, even on a non-work basis such as dress style or attitude, he is less likely to use that firm in the future.
Generally, service product management is made up of three phases. The initial phase is the worker’s interaction with a client. This is often seen as the most important part of the process, as it usually determines the buyer’s overall satisfaction. Next comes the billing; in the case of a contract, this may come before contact with the service worker. Lastly, after-sales support is the follow-up processes and error correcting that happens after the sale is complete.
There are two common varieties of service products. In some cases, the customer hires someone to do something. This is common among skilled laborers such as plumbers, electricians or car mechanics. Rather than pay for a specific product, people pay for the worker’s skill and training.
The other common aspect of a service product is paying for access to a person. This is common in areas like tech support contracts. In this case, the money placed in the service product guarantees immediate access to a person or group that has specific knowledge on a technical system.
A service product is not the same as a service job. The service industry is made up of workers like gas station attendants, restaurant workers or hotel clerks. These people facilitate the buying and selling of goods; but the good is what is being purchased, not the interaction with the worker.