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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Service Excellence Forum Highlights Innovation and Future of Service Industry

November 6, 2019. Shanghai – With the service industry playing an increasingly important role in China’s economic transformation and upgrading, innovation in traditional services and the development of enterprise service management are expected to serve as new sources for growth. In step with these developments, the Service Excellence Forum 2019 was co-hosted today by CEIBS and École hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) at CEIBS’ Shanghai campus. The forum drew more than 300 participants, including entrepreneurs, business executives, as well as other experts and academics from the service industry, for discussions about the innovation and future of the service industry.

Since its establishment 25 years ago, CEIBS has kept abreast of business developments in China and has been committed to nurturing leaders in different industries. In response to the rise of the service economy, the school entered into strategic partnership with EHL – a pioneer in hospitality education – to launch both the Hospitality Executive MBA (HEMBA) programme and the Service Excellence Forum in 2018. The HEMBA programme welcomed its second cohort this past May, and the Service Excellence Forum represents an important contribution to the advancement of China’s service industry by providing a place for the exchange of experience and insights.

CEIBS President (European) Dipak Jain and EHL Board of Governors President André Witschi opened the forum. According to Prof. Jain, all products are service-enabled at all levels, and education is no exception. He added that, over the past 25 years, CEIBS has strived to deliver excellent services by joining hands with many world-class partners and that the HEMBA programme represents a profound friendship between CEIBS and EHL. Mr. Witschi also noted that EHL is proud of their partnership with CEIBS and emphasised that the forum has created a great platform for discussions on the future of the service industry.

Michael Henssler, Chief Operating Officer of Asia and Member of Management Board at Kempinski AG, then delivered a keynote speech on The Evolution of the Service Industry. He elaborated on eight driving forces for the change of the service industry – namely, the availability of expertise travelling from west to east; increased growth in numbers of customers; the roles of scale versus scope in strategy; current trends moving from east to west; new perceptions of luxury; increased knowledge transfer between industries; the expansion of knowledge transfer through strategic alliances and joint ventures; and the creation of new experiences. Mr. Henssler added that he believes that China represents huge business potential and job opportunities, and that Chinese tourists would account for 22-25% of the global total by 2020.

Three EHL alumni, Chris Zhang, Development Manager at InterContinental Hotels Group Greater China; William Xi, Assistant Development Manager at ONYX Hospitality Group Greater China; and Alice Gan, from Business Development at Hilton Greater China & Mongolia; then gave a joint talk on Millennials and Millennial Hotel Brands – Who are We? Their presentation looked at how millennials are redefining consumer characteristics and consumption patterns and how these changes present a huge challenge to the traditional service industry. Drawing on their own personal experiences, the three then shared how their organisations have modified their business strategies to appeal to millennials. Lastly, they explained that young millennials tend to prefer individualised service experience to luxury facilities or prestige brands.

Next, Co-founder and CEO of Tujia & Sweetome Justin Luo offered a keynote speech on Service Upgrading in the Information Fragmentation Era. Referring to serviced apartments, he illustrated how companies can address the diversity of consumer psychology in a timely manner to provide different target groups with individualised and innovative services. He added that, in his view, science and technology play a critical role in sustaining high quality services, and that effective platform management leads to consistent service quality. An increasingly sophisticated society will attach greater importance to service, he said; however, this does not necessarily translate into higher service prices. Finally, he insisted that services should be an integral part of business strategy, and should be included in economic models, business models and product strategy.    

CEIBS Associate Dean (Europe) and Director of the HEMBA Programme Katherine Xin then joined alumni and student representatives for a special roundtable discussion on the future of the service industry. During the session, Sunarea Group Founder and Executive President Tang Zhao (CEIBS HEMBA2018) pointed out that delivering quality services has enabled his company to grow from 1 to 100, and that providing a diverse range of service items touching every aspect of the customer experience has proven to be a source of innovation and profit for the company. Nigale Biomedical Chairman Liu Renming (CEIBS HEMBA2019) also noted that, in addition to manufacturing devices in compliance with laws and regulations, medical companies need to track customer needs, build service ecosystems and develop smart products. Shuncheng Group President and Co-founder Wang Qing (CEIBS HEMBA2019) further emphasised that service innovations should involve not only products and processes, but also the entire service chain. Rounding out the discussion, CCID (Baidu Yunzhi Base) Founder and Chairman Wang Hongquan (CEIBS HEMBA2018) explained how to apply big data to targeted services.

CEIBS Vice President and Dean Ding Yuan and EHL Group CEO Michel Rochat delivered the closing addresses at the forum. In his address, Prof. Ding stated that, as the East overtakes the West at the forefront of the global service economy, service markets in Asia will unlock tremendous opportunities in the future. He also noted that, since asset operations and service improvement follow a gradual process, companies should attach greater importance to the quality and sustainability of services instead of being absorbed in scaling their services. Finally, Prof. Rochat stressed that the service industry would be faced with both challenges and opportunities. He said he believes that the joint CEIBS-EHL programme was well-timed, and hopes both sides will continue to work together towards greater achievements in service management.

Roche Wang
Bella Zhang and Michael Thede