Effective Executive
Services Marketing: The New Paradigm

The world of professional services has changed dramatically in recent years. Organizations are ready to take on new challenges to get the advantage of new opportunities. Mike Schultz in this issue draws our attention to five drivers – Core Business Strength, Rainmaking Strength, Performance Environment Strength, Marketing Strength, Leadership and Management Strength – of revenue growth in organizations. These five drivers are of high importance in service organizations. Jochen Wirtz along with Christopher Lovelock did fundamental research in services marketing. In an interview, which is a tribute to Christopher Lovelock, Jochen Wirtz explains the challenges faced by Services Organizations. The essence of services marketing is how you market something that does not involve a transfer of ownership. He explains with examples how delivering the value proposition is difficult. The other paradigm he explores is how culture is a crucial element in services firms, as it is all about people, team work, communications, perceptions, attributions and decision making. Culture thus performs a pivotal role. To succeed, we need a sustainable business philosophy along with culture. For long-term sustenance, we need a vital brand that motivates customers and staff alike. Strong brands have an impact on customers. According to Janelle Barlow “If good service is delivered along to enhance the unique offerings of a brand, most customers will feel pulled to return.”

We have until now discussed about revenue generation, services marketing and strong brands. The success of all these depends on sales performance. In this issue, Ken Thompson discusses the seven secrets of sales performance optimization. Optimization of sales performance is to maximize sales team’s financial performance over short, medium and long term objectives, and that depend on systems, processes, people, technology and finance. The quality of service leads to happy or unhappy customers. Complaints are common. It has been observed through research that 90% of the customers complain for wrong reasons. At the same time there are genuine customers who have real complaints with the product purchased or service availed. These customers if addressed properly may turn into loyal customers for an organization. “The mindset of customer facing staff has a huge influence on what is going to happen in any service encounter, particularly when complaints are being made or help is requested,” say Janelle Barlow and Claus Moller. According to them when organizations listen to customers with open minds and more flexible points of view they can experience complaints as gifts.

An organization’s success depends mainly on the talent of the people in the organization. It is these people who make or break the organization. Talent, dates back to ancient times, where it was used as a currency, but now it has lost that mundane meaning. Today talent means skill. Skilled people enhance the efficiency and profitability of the organization. Top services company, McKinsey, through its research realized that – A Players – the top performing 20% or so managers are twice as likely as average ones to raise operational productivity, sales and profits. This has resulted in war for talents as every organization wishes to be more efficient than its competitors.

In a nutshell, organizations are shifting from manufacturing to services. Services marketing changed how businesses are viewed today. You can call it a services revolution. Is this the next step to industrial revolution?

-- Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary