Get a Demo

Innovation is not an Option for Service Contractors

Billy Marshall
June 23, 2016

My kids have a Chick-fil-A habit, and I don’t mind because I also enjoy the comfort food they offer (particularly an Arnold Palmer with half lemonade and half unsweet iced tea).  On my latest Chick-fil-A run, I was bombarded in the restaurant with banners and promotions for Chick-fil-A One – the new Chick-fil-A mobile application the company is promoting.  The application makes it easier for me to choose Chick-fil-A as a restaurant option because it streamlines the buying experience by eliminating lines, communicating my preferences for buying, and leading me to a familiar brand when I am traveling.  If Chick-fil-A is innovating in the area of customer buying experience, when do you believe your customers will demand similar innovations from you?


I ask prospective ServiceTrade customers all the time if they believe their customers are buying from Amazon, Uber, eBay, and other innovators in the area of online and mobile buying experience.  Of course they respond that all of their customers are experiencing the conveniences of these leading mobile experience brands.  Now we can add Chick-fil-A to the list of companies that is placing their brand into the palm of their customer’s hand in order to differentiate their product.  This current innovation from Chick-fil-A is not a juicier chicken nor a crispier fry nor a tarter lemonade, but instead it is an information and communication innovation that endears them to the valuable customers carrying smartphones in their pocket.  If customers come to expect this type of buying experience from all the companies they patronize, what innovation will you deliver to satisfy that desire?

Innovate or Wait?

Will you deliver innovations before your competitor in order to create a sales advantage?  Or will you wait to see if a competitor really takes business from you simply because they are easier for the customer to engage online?

Innovation is not optional if you intend to maintain a premium price with your customers, and it is also not limited to the classic tools of the trade.  Chick-fil-A did not fry a juicier chicken, but instead delivered a mobile app. Innovations in customer experience are the next competitive land grab in most industries, and service contracting will not be exempt.

Innovation’s Rewards

Innovation is a key ingredient for new sales, customer retention, and employee recruiting and retention as well.  In the service contracting space, the worldwide skilled labor shortage is going to be a boon for the innovative brands that can attract customers and workers, and it will be a death knell for those that remain trapped in old ways of doing business.  The former will drive new sales, raise prices, and attract scarce workers that are looking for career growth.  The latter will lose customers to innovators, sell on price, and squeeze employee wages to maintain margin –  fully embracing the downward death spiral that follows a lack of innovation.

If Chick-fil-A is promoting a mobile app as the number one priority in their business, when are you going to do similar or likewise?  What are the customer experience innovations you are embracing in a world where everyone uses Amazon and Uber?  How can you be the first in your market so that you can set the rules instead of being the follower that sells on price and embraces the death spiral?

Pick up a copy of The Digital Wrap and get your head around the idea that these changes are not just about big brands with tons of capital.  Customers are being conditioned to expect these experiences, and your brand can be the one they embrace online if you believe as I do that innovation is not optional.

Share this entry