The Fundamentals of Service Delivery

By Brett Norgaard

Sound journalism addresses a fundamental set of questions—who, what, where, when, how, and why—in the makeup of a good story. The reader learns facts and gains knowledge from reading a well constructed piece. Similarly, a well constructed service will engage the user and provide a memorable experience. Service Blueprinting is a technique that maps out the service interaction from the perspective of what the user sees as well as how they interact with the “onstage” visible and “backstage” invisible service delivery elements. There is also a visualization of the underlying support infrastructure that the service provider uses in the delivery of the service.

Fundamentals of Service DeliveryWith the advent of online shopping, social media and the proliferation of mobile devices, today’s demanding users expect the same kind of experience, always on connectivity, interactivity, self-service that they receive from Amazon, FaceBook, and on their iPhone. Yet, service providers face an even higher bar, for they have to not only address the aforementioned characteristics, but they also have to handle high organizational levels of security, compliance, privacy, multiple levels of approvals, and more complex service requests than typical consumer interactions. Examples of these more complex processes include employee on-boarding, transitioning a new client onto the service platform, or doing both simultaneously while integrating with enterprise applications. Yet, service providers have to do this for multiple clients who may in turn have multiple divisions, departments, or offices.

And, a service provider always pits its current service against the “claims of better service” by rivals waiting in the wings. So, savvy service providers are adding interactive feedback into the service flow so that instead of waiting for the service to conclude before gathering feedback, are actually capturing valuable, relevant feedback that can be acted upon if triggers indicate a breach.

Good service for one client may not be good for another. It depends on what the service goals are for each client. Consider the case of a Health Care IT Service Provider that we work with—one hospital client sought to optimize around their doctors while another wanted to optimize around their patients.

As you can see, the demands on a service provider to deliver a well constructed, engaging, interactive, secure, compliant, and unique service for each client is no small order. The people, processes, and technology need to support all aspects of the service.

Starting with the technology, a platform that is configuration-based, secure, scalable, and operates in either a dedicated or multi-tenant mode is the first step. Next, and utilizing the aforementioned, the service provider should have several “experience shaping” levers at its disposal for its people to pull. The ability to request services and/or products bundled, unique approvals, and fulfillment is key. The ability to view times, dates, resources, and obtain status is also important. And, it is also vital to be able to gather real-time feedback so the service can be delivered or rectified if off track. Taken together, these service levers can shape the flow of service to the unique needs of their clients, truly addressing their business requirements and their processes.

Now there’s a story that you can write where you shape the who, what, where, when, how and why of great service.