Many companies are service organizations. In fact, many more companies provide services that they think are products but really aren\’t. Service company to product company transformation is the journey from a \”meeting customer needs\” organization to an \”exceeding customer expectations\” one. A service-oriented culture often has no shortage of ideas on how to delight and wow customers. But, with most ideas, it is the execution that delivers results. Getting to a service-driven product company requires a transition from an idea-driven culture to a measurement-driven culture.

As Peter Drucker said, \”culture eats strategy for breakfast,\” so moving from a service company to a product company requires addressing head-on the organizational constructs and cultural values that drive decision making and execution.

Here are four steps to consider as you begin the journey:

Step 1: Measure progress against your vision

The best place to start is to have a clear idea of where you\’d be if everything worked as well as it possibly could and what would be different from the way things are now. Use this vision to ensure you have specified the outcomes that matter for your customers and are willing to invest in getting there.

Step 2: Learn what really matters.

Companies often think they know where their problems lie, but unless you measure an issue accurately (and with a bias towards actionable results), you can be misled. By measuring metrics such as customer satisfaction, employee engagement, operational costs, and performance results, you can get a far more accurate picture of how your business really is doing.

Step 3: Focus on concrete actions, not abstract insights

A service-oriented company strives to delight customers by offering up new ideas, observations, or advice. The challenge with this approach is that it often leads to an abstraction of the real problem and a solution that doesn\’t solve it.

Step 4: Focus on data, not just information

Information is easily quantified, but often it is meaningless without context or comparison. Data is much more valuable when you understand what the numbers mean to your business and how they are affected by environmental changes. This kind of insight can often be achieved by using tools that allow you to drill down and compare baseline, current, and best practice scenarios to understand the areas for improvement better.

Ordinarily, I wouldn\’t write about a small number of steps as it is pretty obvious how to make your service company into a product one. However, with this kind of transformation – where so much is focused on culture – it is easy to get distracted by the pursuit of ideas and miss out on results.

When you focus on a transformation that helps your company move from a service company to a product company, you ensure the structure supports improved returns on investment for your business and better customer satisfaction.

And when both of those increase, you know your company is on the right track.

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