Service Excellence & Governance

Why is it so important to stay on the cutting edge of service?

Article image Up to date in service

Service managers are often faced with major challenges in their operational business. As a result, they sometimes lack the time to take a step back and fundamentally question their own way of working.

Why is this so difficult?

It's perfectly understandable that, with the intensity of day-to-day business in service, you sometimes can't see the forest for the trees. However, this can also lead to developing tunnel vision and no longer breaking new ground. If you want to stay ahead of the game, it's important to keep up with the latest trends in service management.

This is often not very easy. Smaller companies often have a budget problem when it comes to new developments. But if there is a project budget, you can usually implement the project much faster than companies from the corporate segment. With the larger players, on the other hand, bureaucracy usually slows down progress. However, the larger financial resources are usually made available for this purpose.

Often, however, it is not the organizations that are to blame for the lack of change, but actually us managers. There are often two types of service managers. One is the classic screwdriver, who comes from the technical side. This person often gets too involved in the organization of the service process, or in solving individual cases, and sometimes lacks a management overview. It becomes difficult when, in addition to the overview, there is also a lack of interest in management issues.

On the other hand, there is the classic lateral entrant from management, who is usually informed about all key figures, sits in every meeting, but sometimes lacks the appropriate know-how to think ahead and break new ground in their own service.

What problems does this pose?

Some drastic developments await us in service, to which service managers must react appropriately. Many companies underestimate the scope of their administrative tasks, which could now be automated and will have to be automated in the future. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find suitable personnel and it is therefore imperative to ensure that they are only deployed for value-added activities. Not, for example, to satisfy some inefficient process or system. We will no longer be able to afford this luxury in the future. Customers are not willing to pay for these inefficiencies, accept longer processing times or compromise on quality.

It is often the case that day-to-day business in a service department runs relatively smoothly, but in some cases the vision is lost sight of. It is not possible to fundamentally question tried-and-tested processes. This can also cause problems in the context of digitization initiatives. If your own processes are not well worked out, you should first revise them before implementing innovative concepts. If you digitize bad processes, you end up with only digitized bad processes. You have to constantly ask yourself: What am I actually doing here and couldn't this possibly be done better?

In addition, a number of changes are also occurring that should be addressed proactively. The labor market is changing. It's not just that the pandemic has driven the move to home offices. The shortage of skilled workers is also causing problems. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find suitable personnel, especially in the field. You have to counteract this by automating more and more activities or shifting them to office-based tasks. This means many organizational, procedural, but also cultural difficulties for you, which you have to deal with actively. Otherwise, you will simply have problems providing your service in the usual quality in a few years. You will lack the means and resources.

What can I do about it?

Therefore, every now and then, despite the stressful daily business, take the time to rethink your strategy. Progress in service is less about revolution and more about evolution. And in the good companies, these evolutionary development steps result from a healthy mix of reflection, inspiration and courage. In the laggards, it is the result of external pressure. But then it is usually too late and they run after the developments.

Therefore, address these issues proactively. To do this, it is important that they stay up to date. Working groups in trade associations, congresses or trade fairs are a good place to start. You can also think about setting up a service circle with like-minded service professionals to regularly exchange ideas and gain impressions from other companies.

Last but not least, coaches in the service area can of course also help to reflect experience from other companies in their own processes. Regular training helps to sharpen the focus on new, innovative topics. As a service manager, you should stay on the ball in order to avoid the problems mentioned above and not miss the boat.

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