Laurie Young's book, From products to Services, is clearly and concisely written and gives a wide overview of the workings of service focussed businesses. It's not the most exciting read, but what it lacks in sensationalism it makes up for in sensible, clear ideas. This is not a one hit wonder business book full of anecdotes — instead its a practical how-to guide for delivering change within service businesses (or businesses that are getting into services).
It sets out in plain language many of principles and practices around the internal workings of service organisations that design schools just don't teach you about. HR, operations, service marketing and the important differences between service business units and other business functions. Illustrated with lots of case studies and many useful diagrams, this is the best business book I've read in ages, and definitely the most directly useful to my practice — unlike many trendier pop business books, which tend to be more generally inspirational and have made their only real point by the end of the first chapter. Readable and relevant.
From Products to Services: Insights and experience from companies which have embraced the service economy By Laurie Young
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