The Four Things a Service Business Must Get Right can be found in this month's issue of Harvard Business Review. HBS associate professor of business administration Frances X. Frei states that the offering, the funding mechanism, the employee management system, and the customer management system are integral to a successful model for service companies.
Two concepts I found fascinating were (1) "Service excellence can be defined as what a business chooses not to do well." Meaning that trade-offs informed by client preferences allow a firm to optimize certain aspects of service that surface as priorities. (2) Frei raises the question, "Are you trying to be all things to all people - or specific things to specific people?"
The entire article is well worth reading.