Saturday, June 18, 2011

Services value assessment

According to Jesus Belle (Professor, Services quality, Haaga-Helia eMBA), the total services value equals customer benefits minus sacrifices they do. In that respect, companies need to evaluate which market stages they are in, in comparison to what kind of service quality they must provide for customer satisfaction.

In regards to service quality development, an early market strategy is to understand when quality is on an acceptable level. Companies may experiment through projects to understand the "good enough" level since competition is low and customer perception may be still very positive. Once companies move to growth phase, they need to take decisions on service developments for standardizing and looking for cost efficiencies.

In mature service markets quality expectations are on a totally different level. Customers know what they want. Core quality has become standard and is no longer appreciated. Key elements of service quality development may be modifications and improvements to functionalities or service levels, or price premiums.

In every stage of the market development, companies must have a clear vision of their ultimate service portfolio: what to invest in and what to emphasize in regards to eg: design, customization, training, maintenance, marketing, financing, upgrading, performance monitoring.

In terms of value creation you also need to consider the side benefits. If you invest in new service development and make a loss of providing that, does it generate profit in other business areas and would you otherwise lose a customer altogether?

To summarize, the concept of quality lives and varies. The quality is not a pre-defined level but rather how the customer perceives the quality vs expectations. The service provider has to understand teh stage in which the company operates in (early, growth, mature) adn develop and provide quality as expected.