This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

April 4, 2000

Exploding Service Industry

271 days until January 1, 2001

Do you like to be waited on? Catered to? Taken care of?

Join the crowd. A rapidly increasing proportion of our society wants to be served, in various ways. We have high expectations of service; we love it when service is provided well.

The demand for service-in practically every aspect of our lives-is strong. We demand service at restaurants, banks, retail stores, government offices, hotels, sports facilities, and more. The list goes on. Consequently, we're moving from an industrial economy to an information economy, to a knowledge economy, to a service economy.

Consumers-business and personal-have more money today, but less time. Or at least we choose to take less time to do things like mow the lawn, shuttle the kids, and fix dinner. Entrepreneurs are jumping at the opportunities, eagerly searching for ways to make money from the time constraints and lazy streaks of the customers they serve.

Single-service firms will gradually combine forces to gain the power of one-stop shopping. In the same manner that we see so many industries consolidating and franchisees operating more than one service under the same roof, service providers will become more involved in combinations and "roll-ups." A recently-announced example is the new relationship between Takeout Taxi and Blockbuster Video. Now customers will be able to order dinner and a video to be delivered at the same time . . . extra convenience for people who just want to relax with a decent meal in front of the television.

Concierge services are expanding. From an emerging service just a few years ago, the concierge industry is growing in both the business and personal arenas. We're already seeing networks formed to serve clients around the country and franchising is just around the corner.

The tight labor market will impact the service industry as more employers compete with each other to attract workers. In this field, this competition is likely to drive wages up, increasing the cost of some services. The demand is strong enough that some increase in prices will not dampen the growth of services in the near-term future.

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