Product VS Service - It's A Process Problem

by Mark Withington, on Jun 28, 2022 9:15:00 AM


Services vs. Product

Over the last forty years we’ve seen great advances in manufacturing management methodologies of tangible goods (e.g., Product) that have leveraged the economies of scale from mass production and quality efforts of Deming and Toyota, however, today the overwhelming majority of the industrialized world’s GDP is delivered in intangible services, and yet service delivery remains loosely defined and fluid. 

One of these things is not like the other 

 Unlike tangible goods – services have no stored value that can be inventoried in Finished goods.  They are typically delivered in real-time, and as such, quality must be designed into the processes used to deliver the service.  For that matter, unlike product there are no raw materials nor assembly line work-in-progress.  In fact, the closest assembly line equivalent in the real-time service world is the customer experience. 

Interestingly, while the assembly line in the product world is precise and well controlled, customer experience is often an afterthought that evolves ex-post the service release.  If you’ve ever visited a Call Center and noticed a collage of sticky notes adorning the bezel of the Service Reps computer screen - those are the byproduct of after the fact customer experience retrofit. 

Customer Experience (should) imitate art 

Organizations need to view the Customer Experience with the same level of precision and control as manufactures view their assembly lines.  From a full end-to-end perspective, proactively designed and tested over and over BEFORE the service ‘goes-live’ to ensure quality is built in - think live-theatre opening night vs. motion picture release.  

Rather than the after-the-fact editing of movie production, organizations need to refocus their thinking to live theatre, rehearsed over-and-over before the curtain goes up. If you’d like to read more about customer experience as theatre, click here to read our blog, “Is your customer experience ready for opening night” where we juxtapose CX testing to live theatre Tech-week.

Topics:User Experience


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