7.4. Emerging Trends in Service Development
Another characteristic unique to services is the alacrity with which they move and adjust to societal trends. While certain products continue to demonstrate their value decade after decade, few services stand this test of time because people's expectations and needs are in constant flux. There are two notable trends that have acutely affected service development over the last decade: the development and utilization of technology and the blurring of the lines between products and services.
Increased competition due to technological advances calls for greater differentiation through unique, personalized service delivery.
Increasing technology has had an impact on service development at its core by elevating both service development capabilities and customers' expectations. These two forces work both for and against each other in the service development equation: as technology increases, providers are able to better meet the demands of their customers, who, in turn, continue to increase their expectations of minimum standards. The ultimate consequence of this technology/expectations cycle is that service providers cannot ever be content with their technology advances or rest on their innovation laurels, because companies are now constantly susceptible to competitive offerings and unsatisfied customers.
The increasing capabilities of service providers are best exemplified by the rise in use of the Internet as a means ...