This week, I had the opportunity to visit the first PTC Live Service Exchange. This was held in conjunction with a broader PTC Live event, but focused solely on the needs of service business leaders.
Overall, the event was extremely well attended and the level of discussion was great. On the main stage, we heard from organizations such as Philips Healthcare, Electrolux, and Renault and these were supported by focused breakout sessions featuring the likes of Caterpillar, Sears Home Services, Komatsu, Lexmark, and more. I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on service parts.
Here are my key takeaways. (Note: The summaries are intended to be brief but I would be glad to dive deeper if you’re interested in learning more.)
- Organizations really want to transform to a service-focused model and that transformation is occurring, albeit slowly. There is a unique cultural challenge that stands in the way of broader ‘servitization’ (another upcoming blog topic)
- There exists a service paradox. As organizations become more service or customer-centric there is an initial drop in customer satisfaction and profitability. Hence a paradox. My personal belief is that the impact of this paradox can be mitigated with the aid of executive focus and a clear understanding of the service-focused mission of the organization.
- Customer experience design is going to be an emerging concept of discussion and discovery. The experience that customers receive via the product, service and more will be unique grounds for differentiation in the coming years. Hence strategists are going to have to map out the current state and design the ideal customer experience across all facets of the organization.
- Connected assets are going to drive a greater degree of customization and personalization, especially as it ties into the product and service experience. With greater information on product usage, customer preferences and more, there wont be any excuse for a generalized, non-personal experience. It will also raise a very important dialog around data security.
- Customer-centricity requires a focus on understanding what customers value – I steal this quote often. “Customers don’t necessarily care about air compressors, they want compressed air.”
- There is a unique and untapped opportunity for design, engineering and service to work together. This isn’t just to make products more serviceable, but also to improve the quality of products in addition to enhancing the experience that customers receive while interacting with the product.
My favorite quote of the event came from Steve Olive, SVP and CIO from Philips Healthcare. “Sales, service, and design need to be tightly integrated, and a better build is the output.” What a profound change in philosophy around the pre-build (and not post-sale) nature of service.
I also have to recognize this quote from Sebastian Samuel, VP After-Sales Engineering at Renault. “Innovations are useless if they don’t benefit society.” I hope to learn more from Renault on how they are innovating around emissions and fuel to enhance their society.
It’s encouraging to see the interest in service transformation from a cross-industry and cross-discipline group of leaders. I look forward to carrying the discussions forward via the work on The Service Council.
Do these trends resonate with your overall business? If so, what else do you see occurring within your business?