Monday, November 9, 2009

New Competitor for Service Firms?

If you're an aggressive service firm, you not only focus on the customer, but you're also well aware of your competition. The competition today may be hyper-aggressive, or it may be in a slumber - either way, it's imperative that you know their status.

There is a new competitor that we need to be aware of today: the customers themselves. More customers are taking services in-house. They see no problem pulling in basic functions ranging from Web to marketing to customer relations and so on.

There are two reasons for them doing this. 1) Obviously, it saves saves money, at least initially. But the biggest reason it's being done is 2) it's viewed as a way to increase job security. If they can have their in-house team produce services, that team would seem to be less likely to be laid-off, they would be proving their value to the organization.

I have no issue with the client going in-house, if those services can be done by them just as well as their supplier would do them. But as suppliers, we need to make sure our clients understand the real value we bring - that may influence whether they bring that work in-house.

Otherwise, if suppliers don't make clear what unique value and talent they bring, they have another competitor in a crowded recessionary market.

Barry LaBov
LaBov and Beyond

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