The service wrap: wrapping for competitive advantage

There is always the effort by commercial organizations to be leaders in their industry and increase their market share. In other words, every organization always tries to win over another’s customers by offering something of greater value or by other means.

Competition is normal. In fact it is good in that it drives performance and innovation in organizations and benefits the customers. While farsighted organizations plot their way through the maze of competition to a strategic advantage, organizations that ignore competition sacrifice competitive advantages to their rivals.

And the reality is that there is always competition. So you cannot wish it away. Rather you need to learn how to compete to succeed and this is where the service wrap comes in.

A service wrap is a set of non-core services which are bundled with a core service to form a complete package that is sold.

Service wraps are usually made using those unique organizational strengths that contribute to increased value for the customer. They are produced primarily by tweaking the different ways the primary result can be delivered to the customer. Hence the service wraps manifest in form of fulfillment categories like reliability, speed of service delivery, proof, empathy, competence, responsiveness, friendliness, etc.

To find the right service wraps for your core services, there are two concepts you must understand – the service concept and the value equation. The service concept will not only help you understand your business but also will challenge you to view it in ways that can make it stand apart from other organizations. The value equation will help you understand value from the customer’s perspective.

Armed with these, and careful thinking about the market, the different customer segments and the needs of customers in those segments, together with a dispassionate understanding of the core competencies of your operation, you will be able to develop the right service wraps.

And when these service wraps are used to wrap your core services, your customers begin to see a totally new and innovative concepts that have great appeal. In other words, an experience difficult to match is created, which gives your organization a significant competitive advantage.

This is because there are different ways to think of how to compete. One is to think that your business is merely performing a function. That’s the commodity mind-set.

Another way to compete is to go beyond the function and compete on the basis of providing an experience. That is to say, using the service wrap to wrap your core services.

For instance, an airline can think of its business as transporting people from A to B, on time and at the lowest possible price. Or it can think of it as making the process of flying from A to B as effortless and pleasant as possible.

The former provides just the result which is easy to match whereas the latter which is service-wrapped provides an experience. The difference – the service wrap – which in this case manifests in form of the competence used in serving people, is difficult to match.

The best service wraps are embedded in the culture of the organization which makes it difficult for the competitor to clearly identify not to talk of copying.

In addition, it is noteworthy that you can use multiple wraps for additional ‘thickness’ and the thicker the wrap the more the variables you have to play with to keep ahead of the competition.

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