ClickConnect Pre-conference workshop: Achieving Your Best Practices Vision for Service
Author: Mike Karlskind
What do 50 friends (old and new) from more than 10 leaders in the service industry have in common? After the pre-conference workshop, they have a collective 30-50 years of vision for how service will be delivered within their organizations – or at least a good start in that direction.
On Monday, I was the beneficiary of seeing how in just four hours; these companies and their representatives could so quickly take the first steps of identifying “who they want to be” as service leaders. All of us (yes even a software vendor) want to be more efficient, more productive, and more streamlined in delivering the highest levels of service to our customers. But in spite of best intentions, we are all challenged by the everyday fires and pressures of operational execution, usually leaving the long-term picture of service for exactly that – the long term.
Together we identified the scope of the service operation from the participation of sales, marketing, or asset management in creating demand; to the fulfillment of that demand by the service operation and logistics; and even the support of back office departments like HR, IT, and finance. We discussed the goals of the operation from the top-level to operational objectives – and what “best practices” looks like for each of us to define our individual visions of how service is planned and delivered several years from now.
With a vision in-hand, we moved onto introspection in which we assessed realistically where we each are relative to our vision – covering the entire scope of those who impact, and those who are impacted by service delivery. The result was increased clarity as to what areas of our operations need to be improved, in what order, and with what impact on the process.
Finally, we discussed “what it will take to get there” and how to break down big and ambiguous “pieces” into palatable chunks which we can “bite off” resulting in a very high level plan, but a plan all the same from which we can continue to refine and redefine until we achieve it all. This breaks down one of the greatest obstacles (i.e. ‘walls’) that we all face. The wall of focusing on the immediate at the cost of the bigger and future ‘picture’.
Is the work done? No, it has just started. However, if we were as successful as we hope in understanding “how” to identify a vision, assess our current state, and create a plan – then the bulk of the work that remains is very achievable by each of us individually as companies and stakeholders. It was amazing to watch and to be a part of as individuals from business, IT, and project teams within each company came together for collective agreement towards a common goal – more effective and efficient service, delivered at the highest level. Thank you to all of you who participated. I was humbled and honored to spend this precious time with you! We’ll see you again next year – one year down that 3-5 year path.