Service Industries

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Are You Selling Your Services? Need A Bigger Market Space?

At Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), we find ourselves frequently focused on the challenges of companies in service industries, clearly one of the largest and fastest growing segments in the U.S. economy. Whether a customer care business or a financial services provider our service industry clients are confronted with many of the same issues. First, they are facing slowing revenue growth. Second, all too often their sales process—people, lead generation and marketing—are trying to capture (not very successfully) more of the same markets. And third, they find that their value proposition, once their hallmark, has become stale and is facing pricing challenges and commoditization as their markets become saturated with other companies much like them.

Whether they are a health information services company, a financial services institution, a supplier of legal services, or are in the customer care industry, businesses now more than ever need to “see, feel and think” in new ways. We routinely observe their resistance to “see” what is coming, and how they fight change. While we know that change is literally pain, changes are indeed coming. It’s inevitable as other companies are leaping over them with new solutions to the problems they are trying to solve.

How Can SAMC Be Of Help?

If you are in the service industry, this is a good time to pause and take stock of where you are and where you are going. Far too often, the in-box is driving the business. As long as calls keep coming in, you believe you are doing just fine. But at SAMC, what we often find is that the business environment is slowly, or quickly, changing and our clients are stuck in the world that they know, reluctant to move into new arenas. Our role is to guide them out of their comfort zone with a process that lets them comfortably begin to discover new opportunities, unmet needs, nonusers and potentially big Blue Ocean Strategies®.

Some Stories To Share

Client Who Didn’t See The Changes Coming. One client in the financial services sector is a broker-dealer. Their growth strategy was to recruit other brokers into their business model. As long as there were brokers being trained by the larger firms such as Merrill-Lynch, this firm could pull in a steady stream of younger talent looking for a more entrepreneurial environment. Then the large firms stopped their training programs, and the feeder system stopped as well. Our job: help them open a new Blue Ocean Market Space. This meant a new business model and a growth strategy that recognized how the times were changing. To once again be front-runners, they had to redesign their business.

Another Who Didn’t See the Demographic Changes Heading Their Way. This client was a major leader in the customer care business (leaders at at answering 800-#’s for their large clients) who engaged us after 3 years of no-growth and 3 lost RFPs. A division of a billion dollar corporation, they had hired a new president, were trying to find a new strategy for growth, and were very excited about how to find a new market space. Using our Blue Ocean Strategy® approach, we had the management team do three things:

  1. They sat on their telephones and listened to their staff answer customer questions. What they learned was that the average age of a caller was over 50. They quickly realized that their own clients were not paying attention to what the customer was doing. Younger people didn’t use telephones for customer care. They didn’t use telephones very much at all. They text-messaged. But no one was integrating text messaging into telephone answering systems.
  2. Next, they did culture probes with other companies that could be using their services but weren’t. They even spoke with the companies they had lost the RFPs to. What they found was that it was not about price. This wasn’t a situation where the lowest price won. Rather, the prospective clients were struggling with outsourcing their solutions. The power of their brands was so strong that they did not want to risk their value with an outsource customer care service provider.
  3. Finally, they realized that they were the repository of abundant data, none of which was being used by their clients—even though it was their clients’ own data. They had a gold mine of information that no one was looking at.

The end result was that after a year of working with this client, we helped them construct a plan to expand customer care and target younger audiences using online and text messaging solutions. They had to sell it to their clients rather than have the clients demand it from them.

While this was the most important part of their new strategy, there were several other areas that they began to develop, too. They realized that they could run the in-house customer service centers of those prospects. This would leverage their expertise and yet allow those clients to protect the quality and ensure brand integrity; they didn’t have to be just “outsourced solutions.” And finally, they realized they had a potential revenue stream in the data they were collecting for their very own clients. They converted this data into valuable information and sold it back to their clients with insights. The data was solid but the insights were where the value rested.

Perhaps We Can Be Of Help To You

These clients effectively used SAMC’s strategic process to open new market space, create demand and find major unmet needs and nonusers. It was all right in front of them but we gave them eyes to “see” it in new ways and then make it happen.

We have a wide variety of stories to share. Some may be just like your company and the needs you have today or as you look forward to tomorrow. Contact us so we can help you better “see, feel and think” about your business, then actually “do” those new ideas.