By Tom Paquin
We spend a lot of our time here discussing servitizaiton: The act of repositioning traditionally product-oriented businesses with a more service-oriented mindset. It’s obvious why we do this: Servitization is a compelling trends, especially in manufacturing, but also in the ways in which industries like utilities, telecommunications, and others are embracing service.
We’ve centralized this conversation so much on the move towards product diversification that it’s easy to overlook the companies that have been there all along. Is there and equal, but opposite move in those organizations to “de-servitize”, thus creating internal product categories with which to service? From my experience, the answer is generally no—there’s a lot more of an incentive to become a service than to become a product provider.
But the move towards servitization does have an impact on pure service providers, of course. Suddenly, relationships with product categories, vendors, are fraught, as once allies in the battle for business could potentially become competitors.
These changes mean that pure service businesses need to make sure that their core offering—service—is of the highest possible quality. So from order scheduling, to routing, to parts, to follow-up, to customer retention, and everything in between, service companies need to go beyond optimization to make exceptional service a true value-add for their customers.
We’ve certainly been able to feature a lot of stories for how companies have done this well, but there are a few constants. Chief among them is making sure that their technical infrastructure is catered to the contours of their business specifically. This means choosing software that’s built with a service-first mindset, understands, broadly, your industry, and has tools that don’t just work for you in the abstract.
Below are links to some of my favorite pure service stories. While these three all service products in specific industries they each provide exceptional templates for making sure that the core of a service business is offered at a world-class level.
“We needed technology that would help us build a better customer experience. From an end user perspective, I call it the Amazon mentality or consumerization that’s happened so this whole expectation of service delivery and timing a service delivery and great communication and constant communication flow, but also things like information on the equipment you’re working on and work order management systems. Impacting the customer experience was first and foremost for us.”
“In today’s always-on world, customers demand insight. We realized about 18 months ago that we weren’t giving them enough information – they wanted more from us, and we needed to better use our technology to deliver. Customers want to know, at a glance, how we’re performing against our SLA, how long the technicians have been on-site, the reason for any delays or re-visits. They want to check in continuously to get that status update and know everything is happening as planned.”
“In light of this pandemic, digital capability is more important now than ever. It’s been instrumental in our ability to make sure that our customers can safely work remotely, but at the same time know that their data centers, for example, are running healthy and they can support their end users, and their customers, and their essential services.”
“Sometimes when you’ve been successful in doing things a certain way for a long time, it’s hard to understand why you’d need to do something a different way. We’ve really focused in the last several years on our culture and have been very intentional about how we wanted to preserve the good and evolve as we’ve needed to. It’s really come down to getting good leaders in place and having a culture that is very performance-based, very data-driven and very process-focused, and helping everybody understand that that’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing and it’s going to help us continue to grow and continue to distinguish ourselves from our competitors in the marketplace. Sounds easy, but it’s a lot of work to take an organization in that direction.”