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Are you overcomplicating your services?

John McVicker

Simplifying your services model could be your ticket to more effective sales outcomes and better customer experiences.

There’s a huge opportunity in the IT industry to reduce complexity around services. From overly intensive quoting procedures through to confusing services agreements, there are plenty of processes which create unnecessary friction – friction that is costing you. Not only is it detrimental to your clients’ satisfaction, but it’s slowing down the sales process and reducing your competitiveness. It is also unnecessarily burdening your sales and operations staff.

But what if you could create “snap in” services solutions that were easy to quote and deliver?

It’s been done before. Look at Uber. Its introduction dramatically simplified the process of getting a ride and it completely changed the industry.

It has already happened in the IT industry, too. Take the cloud, for example. Remember how before Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure it would take weeks, not seconds, to set up a server? From the time and resources required to work out the requirements and configuration, to ordering and then physically installing the infrastructure, it was a lengthy process. Now, it’s all done very simply on the cloud and it goes live within seconds. It was revolutionary then, but now it’s part of our everyday.

However, this reduction in complexity hasn’t found its way into services yet – but we believe it’s coming. And, if you don’t take the lead, your competitor might beat you to it.

How to make services easy

Making your services easy for your customers starts with your mindset. In any services business, there is risk – a part might not arrive on time, installation may take slightly longer or bad weather might throw out your schedule. Often, businesses attempt to manage this risk by finding out as much detail about a job as possible before quoting. They may try to predict for every possible outcome and bundle these into a very detailed and often confusing or expensive scope. This all takes time and resources and – most significantly – eats into your profit.

The solution

Today, you can deliver a better customer experience by simplifying your products or outcomes and most importantly, finding a partner who will carry some of that risk for you. This will allow you to simplify your solutions at scale.

Rather than spending hours trying to legislate or mitigate every possible risk, accept there will be some and account for it. It really is that simple. For example, perhaps 90% of installations take two hours, but 10% of cases cost you that little bit more. Set your rules for quoting and pricing to provide room for this 10%, ensuring you are only accounting for an accurate number of events to keep your pricing competitive.

Once you and your delivery partners have adopted this mindset, it will become much easier to create simplified and modular pricing. It will allow you to look at your average service delivery times to develop set costs per unit or outcome.

This makes your sales process easy and fast, reducing the amount of work required to generate a quote. It also streamlines the process for the customer by reducing the information they need to provide before even starting work. Importantly, it means that you can rest assured that if something out of your control occurs, you’re still covered.

Taking this approach means you need to be comfortable with carrying that risk, but it shouldn’t all rest on your shoulders. To successfully simplify your services, you need to find a delivery partner who is aligned with this strategy. They need to be willing to also deliver their services on a fixed cost basis, rather than on a time basis. For example, our increasingly popular BestCare product uses a modular approach to make outsourcing field services simple for our customers.

The benefits of simplifying your services model go beyond improving just the customer experience and sales process. A simplified and modular approach removes complexity from the delivery and administration that underpins your service operations. For example, at Best Technology Services we have a partner who has saved his team members a whole day per month each by moving to a modular and simplified cost model.

In an increasingly complex operating environment, simplifying your solutions will deliver big benefits for you and your customer. It will remove friction within the sales process, improve your customer experience and reduce the burden on your sales teams and business.