Q – Why is this picture relevant to this blog?
A – Because it illustrates service and focus on services rather than systems.
I have written about this many times before and it is the subject of one of my upcoming books. It is also one of the root causes of so many service problems that I am asked to help organization’s overcome.
In this instance, the business of the bus company has many facets, not simply running busses around town. The busses are the hardware, but without bus routes they would wander aimlessly or remain parked.
Why are those routes necessary? Ask the city planners, not the bus maintenance workers.
How can the bus service become more efficient? Ask the drivers, the maintenance workers and the city planners. Don’t forget to ask the customers.
How the bus company can maintain low rates is one example of the affects of efficiency, but there is a second facet. Increased revenues from other sources can offset expenses.
The bus in front of me supports two services. One service is designed to meet the rider’s needs, and the other to meet the needs of the advertiser (in this case a car dealer seeking a return on their investment).
The car dealer has taken a similar approach to growing their business and increasing profitability. The dealer has designed a service to compliment the selling of cars, and that is the service of performing oil changes so that the car owner does not have to get dirty. To entice car owners to take advantage of maintenance services, the have launched a new service to care for the car owner’s other maintenance needs. By bundling these two services as depicted in the advertisement, they hope to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
It isn’t about the bus mechanics or the car mechanics or the hair stylists. It is about the customer and their needs (which in turn drives demand for mechanics and hair stylists).
Some customers may choose to go to Renaldo, the upscale hair stylist in town. Other customers have sales meetings to attend or they don’t get paid (but still need their personal maintenance needs attended to so are good candidates for this package of combined services).
Customers have different profiles, and services must be designed to meet their needs, not the needs of the workers to stay employed. If you don’t know who your customers are, or what your customer facing services are, I wonder why you are employed in the first place? Will business dry up tomorrow and your job be taken away? Who knows? I certainly don’t but you should know where the business is heading.
Service improvement IS work of higher value and those improvements might be in cost, quality, time or a variety of other benefits dependent on the strategic direction. How can you multiply your own value the way this Mazda dealer has?