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It’s an exciting time to be involved in the service industry, but with so many technology buzzwords flying around—artificial intelligence, cloud, IoT, customer-centric, omni-channel, personalization to name just a few—sometimes it can be difficult to determine which ones matter to your service organization.

So I’ve narrowed down what I consider the most important, and the goal of this blog series is to provide an understanding of the key concepts behind the tech-buzz and how the right technology can bring value to your customers and your organization.

Evolution of Service: From Commodity…

To understand service in 2018, it helps to look at the evolution of commerce and how current expectations of service came to be. Let’s use coffee as an example.

In the beginning coffee was a commodity. Stores carried sacks of beans, you walked into a store put beans in a bag and made your purchase based on price—which was the only distinguishing factor. That cup of coffee probably cost about 3 cents a cup.

As the coffee world evolved you could purchase ground coffee, saving time and effort when making that morning cup. You were willing to pay more for coffee grounds because you no longer had to grind the beans yourself. The cost of the coffee increased 4 times, but it was more convenient.

Evolution of Service: …To Experience

As time continued and service became more of a focus, you were willing to pay even more to not have to visit a grocery store at all, and pick up a freshly brewed cup at a coffee retailer on your way to the office. Yes there were additional costs, but someone else was willing to provide you a service to make your coffee.

Today when you want a cup of coffee you think of cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos, espressos and so on. You might want to know where the beans have come from and feel better knowing it was grown fair-trade or sustainably sourced. Maybe the choice of milk is important: almond, soy, non-fat, whole and more! Maybe it’s the relaxing music playing at a coffee shop or the free wi-fi.

What I have just described is not just a product, it is more an experience than a cup of coffee. This is because the expectations of service have morphed from buying something into experiencing something. This logic applies in all service organizations as service moves to an experience outcome economy.

What’s Next?

Stay tuned for the rest of my blogs in the series as I reveal three key service buzzwords that will influence what’s next for organizations that want to provide best-in-class service while providing customers positive business value in an experience outcome economy.

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