Title: Service management as success factor
The distinction between the industrial and the service sectors is no longer valid: the product may be viewed as a “frozen service”, with the service component being activated when the product is in customer hands. This means that for product industries the service represents an added value, and that service companies can improve their performance with tangible support. In other words, the customer does not seek a product or a service: he looks for a “solution” that most of the time comes from the combination of tangible product and service. Therefore, mastering the principles of service management becomes a success factor.
What do we mean by “service”? Traditionally one speaks of “service sector” with reference to intangibility. But this point of view is inadequate, nor it helps to have a thorough understanding of what constitutes service by analyzing its characteristics, the role of those involved in delivery and the mechanism by which it is assessed. How should we define “service” for the purposes of measuring, controlling and improving? Looking more closely, we can discover that the characterization of the service lies in the “interaction” between two categories of people:
- the former has stated and implied needs: i.e. the customer,
- the other solves his problems: i.e. people of the organization.
According to this point of view we will be able to discover that the customer has a decisive role in the success of the service: he becomes a "co.actor". To fulfill this commitment, he must be driven: communication becomes a real pillar. Several considerations arise: the purchase of the service is on a trust basis, production and consumption take place simultaneously, the customer contributes with his time, … Furthermore, the judgment of the customer, born in this relationship is subjective. In this vision, design becomes essential to promote a productive interaction, bearing in mind that it happens live: there is no proof! Mastering service management tools promotes success in this increasingly changing and turbulent market. It represents growth for all sectors.
Erika Leonardi, Italy, is a trainer, consultant, writer and lecturer on management issues, for almost thirty years.
I have published several texts on different topics: service management, quality, working by processes, drawing the flow chart, written communication, working in a group, "business and jazz" metaphor, etc. In my projects I drive people to find "their" formula for solving problems and improving their way of working. I follow companies from many sectors and sizes, private and public. My contribution is to provide managerial solutions: the contents of the sector to which they belong are put by the people of the company. Therefore, both training and consultancy become a multi-handed job: customized solutions are born from collaboration.
People say about me that I can propones even complex managerial issues in a simple and original way: and this gratifies me! Aware of the fact that my projects are projects generate changes, I associate the themes with "contaminations": they aim to remove the reluctance to change. Over time I have created several formulas:
- comic stories and cartoons to make managerial themes easier to understand and apply;
- metaphor "Impresa & Jazz": accompanied by a live jazz band, demonstrates how the group is able to enhance the skills and professionalism of each person;
- Zoom Up method: how to draw cross-functional flowchart, clarifying the internal communication within the process
I am grateful to all the people who trusted me and took part in my projects and training meetings: I have always learned a lot from them!
Passion and method, aimed for excellence and happiness. It is important to have a passion. By itself it is not enough: it must be associated with a method. They reinforce each other and lead to results:
- the former addresses towards a better imaginary and gives help in the dark moments;
- the other helps to put things in line to reach the goal, making the best use of resources.