Developing Service Products

A ’service product’ may seem like an oxymoron, because, by definition, services aren’t tangible. However, it is possible to frame intangible services as concrete deliverables by incorporating some of the following steps:

  1. Understanding the problem your service solves. This is the most fundamental rule in marketing, sales and branding. Services become more tangible when they are perceived to be solutions to a particular problem. “Carpet cleaning” is a service. “Spot Removal” is a solution with a tangible outcome. It ultimately drives your message, your brand loyalty and the promises you make. Further, it allows you to calibrate your success against criteria based on the degree to which you solve the problem.
  2. Define one or more outcomes. Solving a problem should have an outcome or tangible result. Golf lessons are a service. Lower handicaps are an outcome.
  3. Create a name or identity that corresponds to the need, want or solution and communicates the outcome. In the above examples, giving a “Spot Removal” process a distinctive brand identity such as SpotGo or SpotAway captures both the benefit and provides an opportunity to brand the service. A process for lowering handicaps might be called “ScoreBetter” or “The ProScore” System.
  4. Keep it simple. Processes and services can be complex. It’s one of the reasons they are sometimes hard to describe. For example, by breaking down a complex process, into a series of 5 steps, you make a process or service appear simpler to understand.
  5. Iterate. Iteration is the process of moving toward a “best practice.” Because products have defined features, you can continue to refine them. Product development, is not an event, it is a process and because it is a repeatable act, requires attention to the way(s) people respond to it. It’s a process of continuous improvement toward a best practice.