This episode addresses Services Growth – transforming an organization’s focus from selling products to building and establishing customer relationships and providing service solutions with Thomas Hollmann.
Thomas Hollmann is the Executive Director for the Center for Services Leadership in the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and is also Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing. His work spans four countries and over 10 years in Fortune 100 companies, including Black & Decker, Xerox, and as an executive at Sun Life Financial. His research interests include Services Science, with a focus on B2B, service analytics, and Relationship Marketing, with a particular interest in relationship outcomes (profitability, customer equity, defection, retention, satisfaction, etc.).
Thomas begins by reinforcing that it takes time to understand how services are different than products. Service plays a major role in how products are delivered and this is the mindset that must be embraced to really make a difference in your results.
He suggests using the Service Gaps Model to understand what customers are expecting to get and what their perception of what they receive. The results are eye-opening.
Leaders must understand that customers always want two things – Value and Solutions.
Value is made up of four factors…
- What the customer wants to get – the thing, results, or goal
- The process of how they get the thing, result, or goal
- The monetary price paid
- The incidental price paid – time, effort
Every customer makes their own decision on which factor has the most influence.
Solutions can mean different things to customers than to the C-Suite. When customers say they want solutions they often get something different than what they asked for.
Thomas stresses the importance of engaging with the customer to understand their challenges and what will help them the most.
All companies need to focus on the specific services skills appropriate for their product and customer needs and offer a clear value proposition.
The Customer Perspective is the most important element that must be considered at all times.
Thomas suggests implementing one of the various Voice of the Customer feedback channels to get the customer perspective and then to Blueprint the phase or touchpoint to bridge the gaps of perception.