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What is the difference between product and service?

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Many will think that a product and a service are two easily distinguishable terms. For example, it is very clear that when you buy a computer you are acquiring a product, and when you call the IT technician to fix it, you are requesting a service.

However, sometimes the line of separation between the two concepts seems to be unclear. For example, when you go to a restaurant, do you buy a product or request a service?

In this article we will present the differences between product and service, in addition to giving examples to understand it better.

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What is the difference between product and service?

Let's take a closer look at how services and products differ.

1. Tangible vs. intangible

This may be the clearest difference. A product is something that exists physically, that we can touch, taste, smell, see and even hear. Instead, a service is made of physical matter, since it is an action.

The difference between a tangible product and an intangible service is at the time of sale.

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While the product was already there, the service is only perceived after receiving it.

2. Storable vs. perishable

This is another difference that is also very easy to understand. The products are storable, at least for a period of time. Instead, services just can't be saved, because they are actions.

For instance. A car salesman sells products, which, if not bought, are parked in the garage. If the weekend comes and the store closes, the product will still be there.

On the other hand, if what is offered is a car rental service, if there is a day when it does not rent them, it is no longer offering the service. It is not that the service is saved, it is that it is not directly there.

The storage capacity of a product must be taken into consideration, given that aspects such as the expiration date or the surplus can lead to economic losses.

Regarding services, it is important to make sure that your offer is made to a market interested in it, and you must also take into account what are the most appropriate times to offer it. Although it is something that is not going to expire, it should be taken into account that if it is offered on days when there are no customers, it is offering something that people simply do not demand.

3. Involvement vs. acquisition

Services are not something physically perceptible, since they arise the moment someone wants to receive them. Basically there is service when there are customers. For example, a masseur does his job when a client requests it. Massages are not something material, since they are received.

Another aspect to keep in mind about services is that they are highly customizable, unlike products.

For example, going to buy a suit, a product, is not the same as going to have it done for you, a service. In the first case, although there may be several sizes and types of suit, it is a product that is already made at the factory. On the other hand, going to have it done implies that they take measurements and take into account how exactly you want it.

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4. Need vs. confidence

The products are made with a basic function, which is to satisfy the need for which they were made. If you buy a dishwasher and it cleans well, then it is a good product.

This does not happen so clearly with services. When a service is received, the criteria to consider it as good are totally subjective. They depend on each person who receives it.

When you decide to go to a restaurant or a hairdresser, the confidence you have in the professionals who work there will largely determine who goes to these establishments specific.

This is not to say that people choose products out of dire necessity rather than trusting your brand, previous experiences with it, or recommendations from others, however, the decision to buy a brand of milk or a type of razor is not a time consuming one. be decided.

5. Homogeneity vs. heterogeneity

Products are usually the result of a mass production chain. The object is designed, the molds are created and several thousand are made a week. All of them practically the same. The products, in mass production, follow very specific standards. For this reason, if when a product is purchased, it is defective, it can be returned or repaired.

Instead, the quality and characteristics of a service will depend on many factors. Several people can offer the same service and yet carry it out in very different ways.

It is ideal for companies to have quality criteria when offering a service, or something so that, in case the customer is dissatisfied, they can be compensated in some way.

6. Customer-supplier interaction

When a service is produced, there must be at least two people: the client and the supplier. That is why, to guarantee that the client acquires the service that is being offered, the supplier must take great care of the business relationship.

In relation to the previous point, it is important that the company guarantees that quality standards are met when offering the service.

Aspects such as the employee's image and communication skills, along with the physical space in which they are performs the action, they become very important when what is offered is something intangible such as a service.

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