A service is a process comprising a series of more or less intangible activities that normally, but not always, take place in interactions between the customer and service employees and/or physical resources and goods and/or systems of the service provider, and provide solutions to customer problems. We define a service concept in terms of the components of the service package and translate the concept into its constituent parts, such as persons (owners, service providers, service supporters, experts, clients, consultants), tangibles (physical products or parts, facilities, amenities, equipment, furnishings, call center), intangibles (goals, service / external / information environments, service recovery, performance, feedback), and activities (functions, processes, procedures, events) — so that it can be designed, tested, and delivered. The range and diversity of service components is organized in a five-level taxonomy for services, whose major categories encompass customers, goals, inputs, outputs, processes, human operatives, physical and technological resources, information and knowledge, and the environment. This serves as a knowledge base for design, which is carried out through an unguided or guided search down the hierarchy, progressively selecting and incorporating categories, attributes and values into the evolving service concept. The procedure is illustrated through its application to an after-sales service facility.

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