Service is your best product
By Lionel Maclou
We all understand the importance of customer service. It provides differentiation in a crowded, competitive market and is a key revenue driver for future business growth. And in today’s increasingly customer driven market, service is emerging as the true enabler of business innovation.
Studies have long predicted that customer experience will become more important than price or even product. In the digital age, however, it is becoming harder to differentiate between a product and service, at least in terms of output. Many manufactured products such as ‘smart’ devices deliver a service, and often the service element is greater and more profitable than the product itself. Arguably, even conventional products can be viewed in terms of the service they provide the customer.
“If a customer buys a power drill, it’s not because they need a quarter-inch drill bit, it’s because they need a quarter-inch hole.”
Just like this old marketing saying, businesses need to focus on delivering the outcome of their product or service, not the product or service itself. Companies needs to turn their attention to the new customer experience battleground and focus on ways to deliver high quality customer service that leads to high quality customer experience.
This approach, coined the service-dominated logic or SDL approach, views every transaction as service-based. It encourages businesses to focus on the process and benefits involved, rather than the goods or money, which can mask the true value of the exchange. The Harvard Business Review shares research from partners at McKinsey who have found that organisations able to skilfully master this, and manage the entire customer journey (not just customer touchpoints) reap the most benefits: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction. The challenge, however, is for organisations to deliver this in a way that is sustainable and cost-effective.
Customers and consumers are willing to pay a premium for better service and a guaranteed outcome but shifting an organisation to deliver optimised customer outcomes and experiences is not an overnight task. Businesses need the right technology to embrace the service delivery models of the future, such as predictive maintenance and outcomes-based service capabilities. Building digital competencies is paramount is developing a sustainable approach and businesses must be able to quickly identify, evaluate and invest in the right trends at the right time.
As a service focused business, Alliance SI understand that customer service is the biggest influencer of the customer experience. Delivering exceptional customer service requires the right focus and the right technological support. With that, innovative organisations can move quickly ahead, adapting to avoid challenges, capitalising on growth areas and eroding the market share of traditional competition.