For service business leaders in The Service Council (TSC) community, 2015 is a year of focus on people, process and profitability. Doesn’t sound too crazy, does it? It’s very similar to what we saw at the beginning of 2014, when organizations were equally concerned about financial success and finding the right people to support their business initiatives.

If anything, the beginning of 2014 was filled with concern about competition and external factors impacting customer loyalty. While competitive pressures haven’t subsided, it seems organizations are now much more focused on internal changes and updates in order to deliver a differentiated experience.

Below are some thoughts on the 2015 focus areas for service leaders:


Source: The Service Council 2015 Data

Source: The Service Council 2015 Data

Service leaders are being measured on profitability — directly tied to the result of their service businesses, and indirectly tied to the impact that service has on organization profitability. In most instances, organizations expect modest growth in cost for 2015 with a more aggressive growth objective tied to revenue. To support growth, we see investments being made in the following areas:

  • Technology: Contact center; analytics; knowledge management
  • People: Field service; contact center; technical support
  • Process Change: Customer-centric initiatives; new services development; renewals management

New Offerings

Service impacts revenue in two primary ways. Service revenue is tied to the sale of service products (e.g., contracts, parts). Service-led revenue is tied to new sales that come in as a result of membership renewals, up-sells, cross-sells, and referrals. Essentially, these are net-new revenue streams tied to customers receiving a positive service experience. As organizations begin to get a better feel of customer needs and value drivers, they are looking to offer additional services. These offer incremental value to the customers and also extend the scope of the relationship between the servicing organization and the customer. In most cases, these services are tied to reporting and benchmarking.

Talent and People Development

Even with the transition toward self-service and remote service interaction models, there is a greater focus among leaders on the talent available at organizations. In terms of existing talent, organizations are focused on reorganizing service workers to support an integrated service delivery system.

Sumair Dutta

Sumair Dutta

Integrated service delivery refers to a model where self-service, remote service, and assisted service are all connected keeping the end experience delivered to the customer in mind. This is a big area of focus for organizations in 2015. It’s not about more self-service or contactless services, but rather making sure all the service models work together to deliver customer and business results.

The focus with talent is on reevaluating current support levels across various service models and realigning current workers to strengthen overall service delivery. Can current field workers be taken out of the field and repositioned as higher-level support to help customers in case of escalations? Orcan they help train front-line agents when assistance is necessary?

With new talent, leaders’ focus is shifting since organizations aren’t only looking at experience and technical knowledge — these aren’t going away — but also at personal characteristics and traits. These are tied to:

  • Comfort with talking to customers and building a relationship. Connecting with the equipment is no longer enough.
  • Comfort with identifying additional opportunities of customer value. This includes selling, but in most cases it’s about identifying those opportunities.
  • Ability to adapt to available learning, training and communication tools.

Customer-Centric Initiatives

In 2015, organizations will continue to focus on the voice of customer initiatives to truly understand opportunities for improvement. We also see a great emphasis on listening to customers in order to identify white spaces and unmet needs. These needs aren’t solely tied to the relationship with the servicing organization and can include to broader customer pain points currently unaddressed.

We also see a greater emphasis on customer value reporting. Quite often, customers are unaware of service work done behind the scenes and might not see the justification for a service relationship. As a result, organizations are looking for ways to better communicate the value delivered via their service engagements.

2015 looks like a year of internal focus and realignment for TSC community members. This is being done to ensure that customers experience a simple and connected service journey as opposed to having to navigate through multiple disconnected service journeys.

ABOUT Sumair Dutta

sumair duttaSumair Dutta is the VP of product marketing at ServiceMax. In this role, he helps shape ServiceMax messaging and positioning to support customers and prospects. Previously, Sumair worked closely with leaders of service businesses to define and shape their service vision while working hand in hand with implementation teams to execute on established service plans. Sumair is a thought leader in the field service and service management spaces and has conducted numerous research projects in the areas of field service, customer support and business strategy. He brings more than 15 years of experience in studying, analyzing and guiding field service organizations, first at the Aberdeen Group and most recently as the chief customer officer at The Service Council.