Designing a Self-Healing Service System: An Integrative Model
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Ford, Robert C.; Sturman, Michael C.
All service organizations seek to deliver the customer experience they planned. No organization is perfect, though, and so the best of them plan for inevitable failures. Since the experience exists in the minds of customers who individually determine its quality and value, service organizations must not only plan the service delivery system thoroughly, but create ways for it to heal when it breaks. Any delivery system that relies heavily on employees for its success will need to include the means for those employees to find and fix the problems that arise. The process presented here is a systematic approach to assessing customer satisfaction before, during, and after the service experience. Designing the system requires that you study your customers in intimate detail, build a service delivery system that will deliver the experience they expect from your organization, monitor that system closely, create accurate early warning measures for each of the many possible failure points, engage everyone in the organization in watching those measures, and follow up on everything that doesn’t meet your customers’ expectations. The techniques that constitute this process ensure that service organizations both systematically plan for customer satisfaction and ensure that there are ways to heal any part of the service delivery system that is broken. A “self-healing system” allows employees to override the delivery system and fix customer problems when they occur and ensures that the system designers improve it to prevent it from failing again in the same way.
customer service; service delivery system; guest experience
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