What Is Full Service? - Definition & Overview

Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

Depending on the business in question, the term 'full service' could mean a number of different things. In this lesson, we will outline what full service generally entails and provide examples of industries in which full service options may be found.

Good Old Days of Full Service

It's snowing, icy, and cold when you realize you're the gas tank in your car is empty. You stop at the gas station and face the elements while you watch the numbers on the pump slowly climb. It feels like filling your tank is taking forever. In the meantime, you're freezing and irritated. If you are old enough, you may be thinking back to and wishing for the days of full-service gas stations and attendants who would pump the gas for you, leaving you toasty warm in the car.

Unfortunately, gas stations are just one industry that has abandoned full-service offerings to their customers. The term 'full service' can vary from company to company, but in general, full service business provide for all of the reasonable needs and wants of a customer within their particular industry. It means going beyond the basic expectations of providing a single service and offering greater options for your customers.

As a business owner or manager, understanding what services your customers require is critical. However, taking that level of service further and providing greater care for your customers will help build customer loyalty, strengthen your brand, and increase repeat business. When determining what services to offer, you must look at the added cost and figure out how those costs will be covered.

Let's look at other types of businesses known for full-service options.


There are a number of types of hotels and motels. Most travelers understand what kind of services come with staying in an economy or mid-level hotel. However, more luxurious properties are known for their full-service amenities.

Services begin at the valet where someone will greet you, unload luggage and belongings from your car, park your vehicle, and ensure your possessions are delivered to your room. After checking in, your bags are delivered to your room, the features of the hotel are pointed out, all services are explained, and your comfort confirmed. You may have a butler at your disposal, available to ensure every request or wish you have is granted. Room service will bring your dinner to your room and a housekeeper will come turn down the covers to your bed before bedtime. They'll even place a mint on your pillow. There are a virtually endless number of options that a hotel can offer to their guests. However, these services are not free; they are either built into the room charge or are charged separately, depending on which services you use.

Financial Investment Firms

Investment companies are well known for providing full service to their clients. These firms handle all aspects of their clients' investments. Providing full service relieves many customers from managing details that they may not understand or want to study. By using a full service firm, clients work with advisors that they trust will make the best decision in their behalf. Full-service investment companies must have a stellar reputation, consistent results, and positive experiences to ensure their clients trust them and continue working with them.

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