What Customers Expect from your Service June 4, 2018 – Posted in: Service Management – Tags: ,

Most service management frameworks spend little time on the customer’s perspective of a service management system (SMS). My own Integral Service Management Framework (ISMF) is also aimed at the service provider itself, while recognising the need to recognise value: that which makes the customer use your service for their own benefits.

The customer has a specific perspective on your SMS: it does not care so much about its internal workings, as long as it yields the valuable service that the customer needs for its own business outcomes. What is it then that the customer perceives as valuable and what aspects of an SMS are important to generate that value?

In the first place, the customer wants a service that works for him. This means that the service must work as advertised and be available whenever he needs it. Take a phone service: the phone should work whenever the user wants to make a phone call. He is not interested in service interruptions, mean times to repair, availability percentages or service continuity plans. He only wants things to work.

This gives a different perspective on what is important in an SMS: the service must be robust. Secondary are all the measures that need to be taken to restore a service in case of an outage. Robust services start in the service design phase, where all resources need to be spent to make sure the service design is sound and can be developed and implemented with the available technologies. It is better to prevent bugs up front than to have to fix them afterwards. It is better to spend service provider’s budget on design and implementation than to have to do it on operations. In a world that moves steadily to software-defined and artificially intelligent services, self-healing services that fix issues before the customer notices them are becoming the new normal.

Even so, incident, problem, availability and continuity management are still needed, but will have less and less to do if the service design has been done well enough. The result: increasingly happy customers and more effective service operations.

Dolf van der Haven is the author of Service Management: it’s all about the people; A Quick Guide to the Integral Service Management Framework and A Guide to ISO/IEC 38500:2015 Governance of IT. All available on itsmpress.co.uk.

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