“It’s really been great to connect with peers and colleagues that are all focused on service and the service experience of their customers. I’ve found myself refreshed and thinking how many more ideas I have to take back to my own organization. It’s really neat to connect in an environment like this. We’ve had some really great speakers –the quote from Disney about “Magic isn’t really magic, but magic is all about the details” really resonated with me as well, so lots of really great nuggets to take away.”
I think what we’re seeing is a need for companies to get really good at proactive support, to anticipate their customers’ needs before the customers themselves even know what they are. And we’re trying to embrace, we look at service really beyond the customer experience, and look at what we call “customer success”. And how we look at it, is we want our customers to be very successful with our products, so not just the experience when they buy the product from us, or when they have an issue and they contact customer service or technical support, but we want to make sure that we’re helping them be successful, especially during the critical first 90 days that they’re a customer with us and then throughout the customer lifecycle. So we take a holistic view of that customer experience and say, “How can we actually make the customer successful with our products?” And I think that’s the emerging trend that I see these days, is companies really trying to be with their customers, know their customers, their needs and their requirements, and stick with them to help them be successful using their products and not just be reactive to their needs.
I think one of the rapidly growing trends is the services industry is enablement with the information communication technologies. The comergence of information communication technologies such as business analytics, big data, cloud computing, media analytics, sensors, smart services, those types of things are comerging in a way that will enable an organization to create new or advanced services, so services can reach customers much faster than it used to be.
Probably the most significant trend, overall, is just the continuing interest in speed of service innovation. A lot of the presentations focused on innovation methods and that it’s not a linear process, and a think there was a lot of good inside about how you have to have a culture to get speed.
Mike Maddock talked today about Simon Sinek’s great book called Start With Why, and it usually takes people days, if not weeks, to figure out their big “why”. You know, people know what they do and how they do it but they don’t know why they do it. And we spent about an hour and a half and we got to “why” very, very quickly. We’re problem solvers, we look for what’s important to solve that nobody has solved, what’s hard to solve, what other people won’t do because it’s too hard, we figure out a way to do it. That’s the kind of complexity we like. So we looked at the customer experience indexes of major industries, and we found healthcare at the very bottom of everybody’s index, and when you look at the simplicity indexes of Siegel and Gale, guess who’s at the bottom – also healthcare. And so one of our big focuses on verticals is to try to take the complexity out of healthcare where we can, either in the design or the customer interface, particular in the customer interface as you’re trying to acquire the right customers, put them in the right products and keep them long-term.
I think there’s a couple things that are really coming into the forefront of services innovation. One of those things is around the movement from customer experience to customer engagement, and how you do that is not just being aware of what their experience is but trying to make sure that they’re engaged every step of the way. Another trend is gameification of everything, and if you have kids at home you know that everything is game, every app has some sort of gaming mode to it that really tries to get people competing and aware of what’s happening within that particular application that they’re working on. Another trend is this whole idea of “constantly connected” and mobile interfaces. Everywhere we go people are working on their devices, there’s really no need to have a homebase so much anymore. So as a service provider what does that mean to us, and what are things we can do tohelp make sure our service is still outstanding every time they’re having an experience with our company?
There’s been the rise of what IDC calls “The Third Platform” – the first platform being the mainframe, the second platform being the distributive computing, and the third platform being cloud mobility, social, big data, analytics, internet things. And what all of these technologies have done, especially for services, is the ability to provide the data and then the intelligence and then the insight, to enable companies to co-create value with customers. And that is really significant in services. The other thing is, a lot of companies that have been traditionally product companies, what they are finding, the pace of change is so fast, and products are commoditizing so quickly, it’s really challenging to keep up with the growth that the market demands of them. So they are faced with this question of, “How do we innovate?” and the trend is in servitization of these companies. And the other factor for services is that building an ecosystem, meaning that innovation doesn’t have to be necessarily in one company all vertically integrated. We can tap into our customers, we can tap into our suppliers and build an ecosystem that everyone co-creates together and everyone is successful. So these are some of the major trends that I see.