For service providers, the challenge of holding on to customers has become more difficult in the age of instant notification alerts and 24/7 support. Although today’s service economy is constantly finding new and improved ways to better service their customers, you don’t have to go too far back during the pre-internet era to see that today’s reality was on the horizon.
If you dial back to 1991, there is a classic Seinfeld scene that explains the importance of carefully managing the entire customer experience. Jerry arrives at the service desk to rent a car and he is stunned when the service agent lets him know that his car rental is unavailable (despite the system stating that the reservation was taken). The service agent goes on to say she knows why they have reservations, as Jerry rebuts by stating, “I don’t think you do. You see, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to HOLD the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation: the holding. Anybody can just take them.” This glimpse into the future customer’s expectations highlighted the importance of linking customer acquisition with the careful management of the entire successful servicing of a customer (once the business is secured). More than ever, today’s service providers understand that the ability to secure business is only the first step in a marriage with an organization’s customers. The fact is, for organizations to maintain a healthy lifetime relationship with their clients, it will be the actions that follow that will determine their ultimate success.
For today’s service economy, Jerry’s scenario is much in line with what competitive professional services organizations desperately seek to avoid. The systems that need to be in place are there to serve the customer and provide concrete solutions; and not as purely operational tools to capture customer data. Consequently during the last 20 years, the rise of the Professional Services Automation (PSA) marketplace was created with the intent to deliver solution-based software built to help organizations successfully manage the entire lifecycle of service engagements. With that being said, maybe we should give Jerry’s rental agent a break…after all, this all happened way before PSA was ever born!
About the Author: Neil Stolovitsky has over 16 years of IT experience with end-user, consulting, and vendor organizations, along with extensive expertise in business development, software selection, and channel strategies. He has published numerous white papers and articles covering Professional Services Automation, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for service industries, Project Portfolio Management, IT Governance, and New Product Development to a global audience. Neil currently holds the position of Senior Solution Consultant with Upland Software.
To learn more about Upland Software’s Enterprise PSA offering, go to: uplandsoftware.com/psa