The Changing Service Industry

December 13, 2012  |  
By Santina Kerslake

Most of us don't realize just what the service industry encompasses. It includes everything from professional services to the hospitality industry, to schools and it goes on. The service industry, as its name implies, means just that: it provides services for its clients. Thus, customer service, corporate image, reliability and friendliness are of prime importance.

The process involves reaching goals by using strategies such as broadening client relationships, building a small business organization, increasing billable hours or revenue, keeping expenses low and continual improvement of the professional image.

The service industry as a whole, need to describe themselves in business terms, in response to a significantly changing environment. Four major trends are shaping most businesses today: slower economic growth, changing demographics, increased client awareness and increasing competition. While certain organizations may have an excellent service, they fail to tell people about it. Implementing an effective communications program is of prime importance.

While our economy is no doubt changing, the expectation from consumers/clients has a different focus than the insatiable '80s. That means we have to create strategies to broaden client relationships, concentrating on those areas of the business which give substantial advantage One needs to look at what is happening in the marketplace and make adjustments according to the changes. For example: aging baby boomers are now divorcing, remarrying having a second family, have a double income, have more stress and less time. We are also seeing an influx of middle-class entrepreneurs that is is the emerging market to be targeted.

The service industry, like any other business, should play more heed to expanding. They need to offer new services more efficiently, making them more price competitive. Shortsightedness in this area limit their effectiveness in serving and attracting different markets.

Competition is also changing. There are a lot more options for the client. Competition from traditional businesses offering specialized services is on the increase prix levitra Given this environment, the service industry should be focusing on five goals: restoring a higher level of trust quality from potential clients increasing efficiency, being sure to include all areas of the business that are potentially profitable, enhancing sales and service and creating a user friendly environment. That means examining the profitability of each line of business, emphasizing those with great potential and simply maintaining or even cutting others.

The sales & service goal can often get a boost from outside help. It is consultant's job to assess objectively, formulate strategies and suggest ways of implementation. A good promotion campaign, along with an updated corporate image identity design, is one way to set an organization apart from the rest. Keeping prices for various services priced competitively will also bring in more business. For example, installing spin-off centres might bring in a new client who might not otherwise use your services. Then, this client will become aware of your other services and may be more inclined to use you rather than go elsewhere, thus providing for built-in, repeat business.

Strategies to achieve these goals

Pulling the overhead ratio down is a key measurement of expenses as a percentage of revenue. If the plan includes raising revenues as well as cutting expenses, looking at expanding services offered as well as expansion of the business, might be the tool. Immediate overhead ratio improvement, however, will come from better expense management. If expanding, an organization might consider hiring consultants/assistants to do some of the work. That brings in two, three times more revenue while maintaining relatively the same office expense.

Another major initiative is to service the client better. Having an administrator focus on clients can reduce possible paperwork and frustration. The office administration then becomes a sales and service environment. Every business needs to identify areas for savings, and concentrate on high revenue areas. Simply recognizing the importance of sound business practices improves the organization's overall performance.

First appeared in the Business & Professional Woman, February 1994

Santina Kerslake

Santina is an creative professional who is flexible in the face of change and resilient in the face of confusion.