Service. For such a simple word it sure can mean a lot of different things to different people. For sports fans a good service is a critical part of tennis success. For the religious, a service is a ceremony of worship. For the military, it’s their employment, i.e. military service. And in other vocations it’s the length of time that they have stayed with that particular employer.
For lawyers, it’s the formal delivery of legal documents such as a summons. For homeowners, it can be a utility such as gas, electricity, or water. For car owners, it’s the annual maintenance of their vehicle. And (you can tell I’m running out of steam here), it could even be a set of matching crockery of all things.
So service can mean different things to different people. And service in the context of the corporate IT organization is no different.
For those that work in the IT organization, service can mean multiple things. For some, service relates to technology domains like network or storage services. For others, particularly those schooled in IT service management (ITSM) and ITIL, it relates to an IT service, i.e. something that is consumed by an end user. Or some might view service as the S in SOA.
But for me, even in my role as SysAid CEO, it relates to service as in service delivery and customer service. And while we deliver a set of products and services to our customers:
We do all this with a focus on great service - that’s customer service and the service experience. But where do internal IT organizations stand when it comes to customer service or the service experience?
English isn't my first language so I'll avoid the use of terms such as verbs and nouns, and other stuff that will get me into trouble with the social grammar police. Instead I prefer to think of this in terms of the what and the how. The internal IT organization needs to consider more than just the what when delivering its IT services, the how is just as, if not more, important.
Sometimes I think that it's easier to look at this through a personal life lens than a workplace one, so think about your personal mobile phone if you have one. You might have a competitive price, a sexy handset, and a great service in terms of voice and mobile data. But you still might be unhappy with the service. In fact you might have recently changed service provider or refused to go with a particular provider because of service. And by this I mean poor customer service, for example:
Your customers' needs probably go way beyond the technology itself. In fact their expectations of you might be driven by their consumer experiences - the great ones rather than the ones I referred to above. Scarily, they might also rate the quality of your IT services based more on the service experience than on the IT services themselves. Just think back to the two examples I provided above.
So how is your customer service or service experience?
Do you even think of your end users as your customers or care about their service experience?
And would you dance for them?
OK that last question probably took it a little too far but this might make you smile:
It might also make you think more about service. It's time for internal IT organizations to think beyond the technology, and even to think beyond the IT services they deliver, it's time to think about the service experience.