With “hyperservice” comes “servification”


March 2016, article originally published in El Periódico de Catalunya

With “hyperservice” comes “servification”

I lied. Or at least, I didn’t tell the whole truth. In the last column, here in +innovation, I spoke of hyperservice, an up-and-coming new service. It was only half of the new service. The other half, where I didn’t tell the whole truth, is servification.

Brita, the German water filter manufacturer, is a good example. You know the ones I mean. It a technology that makes water taste better, but in exchange demands the periodic replacement of filters because they wear out. This company has invented a system that, through its connection to wifi (and to Amazon), detects when the filters get worn out and automatically contacts the company directly to send new ones.

The client hasn’t done anything. The machine has done it for them

Samsung has done the same with a printer using the same technology. When the ink cartridges are running out, it orders new ones from the company. And you’re saying you haven’t heard the word biped, or human? It’s because here the client hasn’t done anything. The machine has done it for them.

Don’t you hate having to buy a machine you will only use once or rarely? At the home hardware supply chain Home Depot they have started to rent some of the tools they previously only sold. Let’s take the case of a saw to cut aluminum siding. I don’t know about you, but I imagine that I would use it at best once (or never). Well, at this store, a paradise for DIY-lovers, they have seen that there is a business opportunity in renting, in addition to selling. And this idea keeps growing.

Another example is the car manufacturer Audi. In Sweden, they are doing a pilot test, where several people share a car. Through a shared calendar, they reserve the use of the car and pay a fixed cost for the service (using the car) and a variable cost depending on their usage time.

To charge is the key word. To capture value.

What do these ideas have in common? They are imaginative value proposals to open innovative and creative paths in business management. In part, it’s a step from selling to renting. For example, thanks to connectivity, we can create new value in an object in a way that was impossible before. It’s about doing something new and different, and charging for it.

And this is not trivial. Because you must be inventive to generate client interest without altering the company. It’s a deep change for the company that dares to attempt it.

To charge is the key word. To capture value. There, too, lies perhaps the principal difference with hyperservice, where normally you don’t charge for that which you do more intensely.

And thankfully, I can sleep now. I’m relaxed. Since my last article came out I haven’t slept. I don’t like to lie. I like hyperservice and servification. The new service.