What would I do if I won $1.3b (or $900m or whatever amount after tax)? It’s a question that nearly everyone here in the United States is asking. Well, people outside are asking as well as evidenced by my parents, but not as much.
It’s interesting that I’ve asked a similar question in recent interviews with service leaders as part of The Service Council’s InService podcast series (Look out for new episodes featuring Ooyala and Heidelberg). The question is slightly different but essentially focuses on what service leaders would do if given a significant amount in financial resources. The answers vary but it mostly comes down to getting more resources. For some this comes in the form of people; for others its in the form of technology; and for a large number its in the form of customer insight. Yes, customer insight is a resource.
The fact is that service organizations are facing a major transformation. This is true for those that directly deal with consumers or those that deal with other enterprises. In B2B service businesses, the talk of transformation has all been around the increasing importance of service as a differentiator in the face of slowing product demand and increasing competition. In 2014 The Service Council (TSC) research, three out of four organizations indicated that the importance of service to an organization’s financial well-being had increased over the previous 12 months.
This transformation is different. Service buyers are changing. For one, the level of office held by the buyer is rising. As we at TSC conduct our annual 2016 Trends in Service survey, we find that 50% of organizations claim that they now face a higher-level buyer. Procurement or Purchasing still account for the largest share when it comes to buyers of service, but we a greater level of C-level financial or IT oversight in the purchase of services. And these senior-level buyers are demanding more value. As per the first 50 organizations participating in our survey, these were some of the areas/features that were most in demand:
- Pricing – Lower cost service contracts
- Field Service – Shorter response times and smaller windows
- Terms – Consolidated terms and pricing for multiple facilities
- Service Contracts – Performance-based
- Services – Training
- Portals – Self-service information and knowledge
All of these demands are being made in an environment when the cost of delivering service continues to go up.
This is why we see service organizations continue to focus on delivering value via solutions. These include information portals, training services, inventory management services, consumable monitoring and replenishment services, multi-vendor services, and more. At the crux of the issue is developing a clear understanding of customer pain points. With the aid of VOC programs, condition monitoring (and other IoT-related) systems, point-of-service tracking, and customer issue management systems, we now have all of the data we need. The desired result is to use this data to segment service customers and offer customized solutions to target unmet needs.
As mentioned, we’re still collecting data on 2016 trends. If you run a service business, please feel free to participate in our survey. We will be sharing results on a webcast taking place on January 21 at 11:30am Eastern. Joining me on the webcast will be representatives of the Technical Services team at Cisco Systems. Our chat will touch upon 2016 trends, service organization pressures, and the impact of a changing service buyer. (Register, if interested)
Stay tuned for more data on 2016 trends. Good luck with Powerball.