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Service 4.0: Transforming Customer Interactions

Customers today have dramatically higher expectations, but traditional service providers often fail to meet these demands. Service 4.0 represents a fundamental transformation that can help companies meet consumers’ greater needs.

Customers increasingly expect their service interactions to be simple, intuitive, and highly personalized. They also want real-time access to service providers and seamless interactions across multiple channels. Unfortunately, many service providers still interact with customers in ways that don’t satisfy these higher expectations.

Service 4.0 is a new approach that can help companies meet customers’ increased demands by fundamentally transforming the way services are offered and delivered.

By using advances in technology to enhance everyday offerings, leading digital players meet—and often exceed—customer expectations. Nine game-changing technologies enable the transformation to Service 4.0 and promote greater efficiency throughout the value chain.

  1. Big Data and Analytics. Develop deeper insight into customer behavior, preferences, and pathways.
  2. Bionic Computing. Interact naturally with virtual agents, digital devices, and services.
  3. Ubiquitous Connectivity and the Internet of Things. Create an ongoing connection in areas such as on-the-spot service provision and remote monitoring.
  4. Cloud Computing. Manage large data volumes in open systems and provide services on demand.
  5. Cognitive Computing. Simulate human thought processes and provide intelligent virtual assistance.
  6. Smart Devices. Develop an ecosystem of apps and cloud services that utilize high-performance devices.
  7. Robotic Process Automation. Replace humans in work processes that are entirely rule-based.
  8. Virtualization. Free services from relying on specific hardware and software to ensure flexibility and robustness.
  9. Augmented Reality. Provide the necessary information when needed in areas such as manuals, pricing, and alerts.

How to Evolve to Service 4.0

Evolving to Service 4.0 is not easy. A transformation must address each of the major elements of a service provider’s operating model: the organization, the people, and IT.

To succeed, companies will need to do more than retrain their current employees. Successful transformations require attracting and hiring new talent with capabilities in digital technologies such as big data and the cloud. Legacy IT systems present a major bottleneck to achieving Service 4.0 transformations. Therefore companies should start with pilots in order to rapidly create new features—best done in an agile development in short sprints. Companies must determine the right sequence for the transformation efforts. Issues to consider include which business units and countries to begin with, whether to focus on customer-facing or enabling processes, and which transformation initiatives to implement at the start.

They will attract the best talent to design and implement new offerings and establish themselves as the leaders in providing services enabled by advanced technologies. As a result, these companies will benefit from strong ties with skilled employees and customers that will make it difficult for the laggards to catch up.

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