From time to time I hear the question raised about whether something is a product or a service. This comes about, I think, because marketers and brand managers in service businesses often refer to products as a matter of convenience. For example, a mortgage product or a vacation product.
However, there are some substantial differences between products and services, which definitely affect how you think about managing both the customer interaction and the marketing generally.
For example, services tend to be perishable in the sense that they cannot be inventoried -- what you don't sell today cannot be sold tomorrow. Consider the impact of this element on airline seat pricing -- it's a huge driver in that industry!
Service quality is notoriously difficult to control. For example, one lawyer is not interchangeable with another lawyer, even though they may work for the same firm and have similar training. This is very different from the world of products, where we fully expect two boxes of laundry detergent to be virtually indistinguishable.
I've attached a PDF you can download that gives you some examples as well as some criteria for consideration.