When one puts the words ‘global’ and ‘service’ together, the first thought is one of outsourced contact centers. Over the previous 15-20 years a number of organizations have taken advantage of global resources to reduce the cost of service delivery primarily across parts sourcing, inventory management and the contact center. This mode of globalization is still valid and continues to offer efficiencies. However, we’re beginning to see more and more organizations evaluate global service structures in order to match the ever-increasing reach of their products and to unify the total service experience delivered to customers.
The Service Council’s (TSC) recent Q3 research trends survey revealed that 37% of organizations were focused on the global growth or expansion of their businesses in Q4 2013 and early 2014 (See Figure Below). Only 30% had indicated global expansion to be a priority in Q3 2013.
Source: TSC Research, Q3 2013
In fact, global expansion was noted as a top four area of focus for the coming business quarter. Granted, more than 50% of the organizations focused on global expansion are already global in nature with regards to service, but a new breed of mid-size service businesses are looking to enter new geographies from a service and support perspective. Fifty-percent (50%) of mid-sized organizations (between $50m and $1b in annual revenue) indicated that global expansion was a key focus area of growth for their businesses.
Most organizations that harbor global growth aspirations in the coming months have looked to do so for the previous 12 months as well but have been slowed by global financial market and economic challenges, as identified by 41% of respondents.
Source: TSC Research, Q3 2013
However, increasing avenues for the sale of product globally and a lack of consistency in service management processes have led to a delivery challenge that can no longer be ignored. More so, competitive factors, particularly in the industrial manufacturing and medical segments, are forcing the hand of organizations that have been hesitant to strengthen their global offerings. Competition from other OEMs via multi-vendor services and from local independent service providers delivers a revenue hit on opportunities tied to contractual or transaction service. More so, ineffective service delivery, even via an unaffiliated third-party, can serve to negatively impact an organization’s brand and reputation when it comes to quality or customer service.
In addition to opening up new revenue opportunities and increasing access to a global network of customers, a global service framework enables organizations to:
- Deliver a consistent brand of service and support across geographies
- Standardize service processes for increased efficiency
- Increase collaboration and best practice sharing between various geographies
- Take advantage of shared services across multiple geographies thereby removing redundancies but also offering economies of scale
There is no one size fits all strategy for global service delivery. Cultural, language, supply chain and regulatory differences make it extremely difficult to have a unified service strategy that stretches across all geographies. However, a connected service strategy that emphasizes local accessibility with aid of global resources can go a long way in enabling organizations differentiate the offerings that they provide.
More so, business initiatives can be shared across the globe, and these initiatives are enriched by the local feedback delivered by the variety of service partners. Revenue growth, the top goal of service organizations as seen via TSC research, can be a global initiative with implications for all service geographies while the path to revenue attainment might vary depending on the geography. Similarly other initiatives such as workforce management, partner management, knowledge sharing, inventory management can all be initiatives that are collaborated on at a global level and then enacted at a local level to account for regulatory and other differences. Collaboration on global strategic initiatives is the first step in ensuring the development of a truly global service organization, as opposed to one that is just multi-national.
For more insight on how to improve and standardize service operations worldwide to increase value, download The Connected Global Service Organization e-book.