By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service
Last week was spent in sunny Palm Springs taking notes on the top-of-mind trends and themes among service leaders at Field Service Palm Springs 2019. There was great energy at the event, a very well-done production by WBR. I had the opportunity to connect with old friends and make some new and I was fortunate to participate in and listen in on some interesting sessions. Before this week of post-travel catch up gets away from me, I wanted to share three points that I found notable at the event.
#1: The Elevation of the Service Industry is Apparent
One of the things I noticed most is how much more of a conversation this year’s event was among attendees. In year’s past, you’d have a handful of really innovative organizations up on stage talking about their initiatives – and a whole room full of attendees looking up at them thinking, “huh?” Maybe not quite – but this year there was a stark contrast to the division among leaders and laggards at the event. Rather than many learning from few, everyone was learning from one another.
This change illustrates the elevation of the industry – the fact that overall, service is becoming more strategic, competitive, and for many organizations a key differentiator is exciting. This evolution resulted in delegates that were all somewhere along this service transformation journey, and all active participants in the exciting conversations happening at the event.
#2: All Paths Lead to Servitization
Servitization was arguably the key theme of the event. The idea that companies can no longer just sell and service products, but rather need to level up and begin providing outcomes and experiences was front and center in the event’s content and conversations. The vast majority of those in attendance are in full agreement that this is the future and are at varying points on the journey of figuring out how to master this within their organizations.
Sub-topics under the general theme of servitization included the criticality of customer centricity and exercises like customer journey mapping and VOC (voice of the customer), how best to communicate new offerings to customers, the challenges around how to charge for new/different services, and the need to adopt the latest technologies to be able to keep pace with customer demands.
#3: Some Topics are Timeless
Over and over again at the event the themes of change management and soft skills came up – truly in almost every conversation I was a part of. I know it can seem like these are topics that have been covered time and time again, but they are critical to what the attendees are looking to accomplish, and it was clear organizations of all sizes in all industries still struggle with these aspects.
If you think about it, it makes sense – there is a greater, deeper change at play in this industry than ever before. Organizations aren’t just asking employees to adopt a new tool – they’re asking that, but along with adopting an entirely new way of doing business. One that involves new and different interactions with the customers, and therefore necessitates more sophisticated soft skills.
Each of these observations from the event – and more – demand their own deeper dive, so keep an eye out for more coming soon.