Are we moving towards outcome-driven services?

Graham Hill posed the following question on Twitter today:

Thought provoking… Service As A SKU… Are we moving towards outcome-driven services? #servicedesign #cem #cex


How very interesting.

I haven’t thought about this article in these terms, so Graham’s intriguing question got me thinking.

I have written about this excellent article here, service outcomes here and the role of perceptions here. Against this backdrop, my response to Graham is this:

Expectations of service outcomes and price are what makes people buy a service, perceptions of good service experiences make them come back.

I believe this to be true also when we consider the increasing interest in outcome-based contracts, particularly with respect to compensation, in business-to-business contexts (for example, in the professional services field).

So while I don’t think that we are “moving towards outcome-based services”, specified and contractually agreed service outcomes are certainly important aspects for purchase decisions, while service experience will continue to be relevant during service delivery and for re-purchase decisions.

From a service buyer perspective, it is certainly no coincidence that a focus on outcomes makes services comparable and thus prone to commoditisation, price competition and the race to the bottom–although perhaps somewhat short-sighted.

It seems remarkable that at the same time as (the desire for) service commoditisation increases, the people formerly known as consumers increasingly demand connections on a human level and meaningful conversations from their service providers. It seems to me that people seem to have a good head start on corporations here…

I wanted to stop writing after the last paragraph, but now realise that my response to Graham might be more true for non-distinct services than for others. Expectations of good service experiences might be particularly relevant for purchase decisions of services that are especially important or have particular meaning for service customers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s