Service (economics)

Services are by definition intangible. They are not manufactured, transported or stocked.

One cannot store services for future use. They are produced and consumed simultaneouslنy.

The service provider must deliver the service at the exact time of service consumption. The service is not manifested in a physical object that is independent of the provider. The service consumer is also inseparable from service delivery. Examples: The service consumer must sit in the hairdresser's chair, or in the airplane seat. Correspondingly, the hairdresser or the pilot must be in the shop or plane, respectively, to deliver the service.

Any service can be clearly and completely, consistently and concisely specified by means of standard attributes that conform to the MECE principle (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive).

The service encounter is defined as all activities involved in the service delivery process. Some service managers use the term "moment of truth" to indicate that point in a service encounter where interactions are most intense.

In some service industries, especially health care, dispute resolution and social services, a popular concept is the idea of the caseload, which refers to the total number of patients, clients, litigants, or claimants for which a given employee is responsible. Employees must balance the needs of each individual case against the needs of all other current cases as well as their own needs.

Lovelock used the number of delivery sites (whether single or multiple) and the method of delivery to classify services in a 2 x 3 matrix. Then implications are that the convenience of receiving the service is the lowest when the customer has to come to the service and must use a single or specific outlet. Convenience increases (to a point) as the number of service points increase.

The distinction between a good and a service remains disputed. The perspective in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries focused on creation and possession of wealth. Classical economists contended that goods were objects of value over which ownership rights could be established and exchanged. Ownership implied tangible possession of an object that had been acquired through purchase, barter or gift from the producer or previous owner and was legally identifiable as the property of the current owner.

Below is a list of countries by service output at market exchange rates at peak level as of.