In services, things are for the welfare and well-being of other things. Through performances and affordances they they fix shortcomings and shortfalls, leading to the the enhancement and enrichment of those paying for the service.

However, things have a finite capacity. During performances and affordances, they spend their superpowers and surpluses. The electricity charging the kettle, at the same time can’t charge a phone. The stock on a store shelf that fills one shopping basket cannot at the same time fill another thing. When a washing machine works on a load of laundry, it consumes water, electricity and detergent. It also consumes a bit of itself because of wear and tear, depreciating in value like mileage on a vehicle.

Even if the asset itself is durable, performance and affordance are consumable because time is a perishable. Which is why airlines find it difficult to offer a refund to passengers missing a flight. A bike locker storing and protecting one bike, may not be able to do the same for another at the same time. Things have opportunity costs.

Since things spend their superpowers and surpluses for the benefit of other things, there should be some form of compensation, incentive or reward. At the very least, there should be goodwill. Between the washing machine and the load of laundry, goodwill may exist from both assets belonging to the same household. There is no need for a financial payment. Hotels often have their own laundry operations to handle large volume of linen. At laundromats, goodwill is replaced by coins, notes, or pre-paid cards. Wi-Fi connections are available free of charge at airports, cafes, and trains because people pay for other stuff. Wi-Fi is on goodwill.

Which is why arrangements between things require agreements between people. Customers are those with things in need. Service providers are those with the things in deed. The outcome of every service has a payoff and a payment. The payoff is in the form of enhancement and enrichment for the customer. The payment is to compensate the service provider.

Posted by:Majid Iqbal

TL;DR I bring clarity to the concept of a service.