Know Your Service Strategy

Matanovich, Tim
July 2004
Marketing Management;Jul/Aug2004, Vol. 13 Issue 4, p14
This article focuses on the annual meeting of the Services Leadership Institute in March 2004. Currently in its 18th year, the institute is described as a mini-Master of Business Administration program, a three-day intensive study of the use of services to create and sustain competitive advantage. Attendees at this year's event included managers from a host of leading product and service companies intent on service excellence. Neeli Bendapudi from Ohio State University reported on her extensive work with the Mayo Clinic on defining the characteristics of the ideal service experience. The Mayo Clinic is widely recognized as perhaps the world's finest healthcare organization. The first lesson to be learned from the Mayo Clinic is that it creates value through values. In fast-paced, high-stress environments like healthcare, the rule book simply cannot be written. Mayo routinely articulates, hires for, and reinforces the organization's core values. One of the most powerful tools used by institute participants is service blueprinting. Introduced by Amy Ostrom from ASU, blueprinting is a technique for looking at your services through your customers' eyes by highlighting evidence the customer sees, critical customer employee interactions, and necessary backstage actions and support processes. Through its application, the tool helps make intangible processes more tangible and facilitates a common understanding of a firm's service offerings. Service blueprinting can be especially useful in designing new services, troubleshooting service problems, and illuminating the customer's experience of quality.


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