We talk a lot about the move to delivering outcomes and experiences rather than products and services. Why? Because that’s what today’s customers demand, and that evolution is what it will take to remain competitive and to differentiate your brand. There’s a near universal understanding among service businesses – and manufacturers servitizing their business – at this point that determining how to transform operations and internal complexity in a way that enables a more seamless, complete customer experience is critical.
What I think is less universally understood is the breadth of potential that exists delivering outcomes to your customers. Many organizations seem to equate outcomes-based service with guaranteeing uptime, which is most certainly an important aspect of an outcomes-based value proposition – it just isn’t the only aspect you should be considering. Don’t get me wrong, the purpose of this article isn’t to diminish the benefits of determining how to guarantee uptime – we’ve seen companies like Cubic Transportation have immense success in doing so.
My point, rather, is to think of uptime as a launching point for the potential of shifting to an outcomes-based service model, not the definition of an outcomes-based service model. If you can expand your view of how and why uptime is important to your customers, you can begin to see other ways your company can play a role in enabling their desired outcomes. Let me give a few examples to better explain:
- A medical device company who provides mission-critical equipment to hospitals and healthcare facilities recognizes the fact that this equipment is dependent upon the hospital’s IT infrastructure to be operable. The medical device company sees an opportunity to expand its services skillset into IT skills to further improve its ability in providing customers with outcomes important to their ultimate objective: being able to care for patients when needed
- A heavy equipment manufacturer understands that their customers are experiencing a massive change in the age and skillsets of their frontline workforce, which is causing issues in the customers’ output and performance. The manufacturer recognizes the opportunity to provide professional services to their customers to train on use of the equipment and consult on ways to best drive efficiency and productivity
- A restaurant equipment service provider realizes that the data it gathers from equipment to ensure uptime can be incredibly valuable to restaurant stakeholders in terms of visibility into peak periods, product preferences, use of equipment, etc. and uncovers an opportunity to provide this data in the form of consumable business insights to help customers drive their outcomes
These three quick examples around the incorporation of adjacent or complimentary services, the use of domain expertise in the form of professional services or consulting, and the translation of data into impactful business insights are just the beginning in terms of looking beyond the uptime of products when you consider your company’s definition of providing outcomes-based service.
Putting your company in a position where you have the mindset, technologies, processes and skills to guarantee uptime is more than likely your best first step toward realizing the potential of the move to outcomes – but if you stop there, you may be selling your company short of far more success. The other ways in which you can deliver outcomes to your customers can be everything from relatively small adjustments to your offerings to net new lines of service – but if you truly want to differentiate your services from your competitors, you want to be thinking beyond the scope of your traditional core competency to determine what additional impact is possible.