I blogged last year about the growing anti-incumbent bias in the services industry. That’s not to say that clients are biased against incumbent providers, but there are more clients who want to switch out providers than there used to be. This is true across every segment of global services (applications, infrastructure and BPO). We can trace at least some of this client mindset back to providers’ actions that are similar to the farmer in Aesop’s Fable who killed his goose that laid golden eggs. In their haste to get more golden eggs (more profitability), providers unintentionally kill the golden substance inside their goose (existing client base).
At the heart of the issue is providers’ wrong view of their clients. As a result, they take actions that cause clients to believe the provider exploits them, as the actions benefit the provider’s revenue. When a client believes the provider is only interested in maximizing its revenue, the client no longer sees the provider as a trusted advisor.
Here are three examples I’ve observed in which providers appear to act for their own interests, which results in clients no longer trusting them.
- The provider moves from an FTE-based model to a transaction-based model, but the provider’s revenue stays the same. Basically the provider finds a way to charge the client more for volume, which wouldn’t need to happen under the FTE-based model. Clients see through that, and the provider loses its trusted position. Clients realize the provider is exploiting them rather than serving them.
- The provider moves to a productivity model, promising to support portfolio apps at lower cost through a managed service. What actually transpires? The provider nickel-and-dimes the client, which ends up paying more money over time. Functions that were delivered in the FTE model are now a la carte, outside of the new model; so the client actually pays twice for the service.
- The provider flattens out its factory model and optimizes it to use junior resources instead of senior resources. The net result for the client is churn in the provider’s resources, so the provider doesn’t build client or industry knowledge. On top of the churn, the client actually ends up with lower productivity because junior people now do what senior people were doing.
And that’s how providers kill the goose that laid golden eggs.
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