What is Service Experience and Why Does It Matter? - Part 1
March 14, 2019

Nancy Van Elsacker Louisnord
TOPdesk USA

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What's the difference between user satisfaction and user loyalty? How can you measure whether your users are satisfied and will keep buying from you? How much effort should you make to offer your users the ultimate experience? If you're a service provider, what matters in the end is whether users will keep coming back to you and will stay loyal. We often think that the best way to measure loyalty is through satisfaction figures. After all, a satisfied user will keep coming back, right?

But if you want to accurately predict whether your users will come back, try looking at how much effort users have to put in to do business with you. According to the Service Desk Institute, service experience is something that has more than one meaning based on the potential outcomes. The definition of "customers" changes what the "service experience" is. For example, in enterprise service management, a "customer" is usually another term for "user." A user of services provided. These users are consumers of a service they are neither choosing nor paying for. However, regardless of the need for the service, they all rely on it. They use computers provided by the organization (usually), for example. Thus, they need the service, but they don't choose the machine or model.

In "service management" you're typically in the business of running or making sure services are provided. The service experience then is the experience of that service by users; the experience of the user in regard to the service provided. Simple, but not.
 
Breaking down this a little further, services provided by the organization in the workplace generally are the things people require to do their jobs effectively, as stated in the previous example. The services provided in combination with each other – computer and printer, access card and meeting room, automobile fleet reservation site and car check out – should, for the most part, be seamless. They should work together flawlessly. If they do not, the service provided is in need of, well, service. These service inconsistencies can interrupt the service experience for the user. 

A service desk agent may be able to improve some aspects of the service experience. If the service is not working seamlessly as required then an unequipped service desk agent who cannot fix the problem only serves to make the poor experience worse and more stressful for the user.

A Variety of Service Management Definitions

Research firm Forrester provides three distinct definitions of "service management." The reason for this is that it is a "byproduct of the fact that we all interpret information sources, such as ITIL, differently. For instance, asking 10 different people to define what a ‘service' is will result in nearly as many definitions."

Starting with the ITIL (the ITSM best practice framework)-espoused definition, according to Forrester:

"The implementation and management of quality IT services that meet the needs of the business. IT service management is performed by IT service providers through an appropriate mix of people, process and information technology. See also service management." Where service management is defined as: "A set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services."

Forrester agrees that just delivering IT services via the best practices espoused by ITIL is not enough if the IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) organization is still focused on the creation, rather than the consumption, of IT services. Another scenario or definition is where I&O organizations continue to be supply-centric (focused on costs and volumes) rather than demand-centric (focused on business needs and delivered-business-value) IT services.

A third definition, again according to Forrester, moves ITSM closer to the customer, dropping the "IT" from "ITSM" to talk in terms of "service management." This is provided from the Universal Service Management Body of Knowledge (USMBOK) – a "companion piece" that supplements existing resources such as ITIL on both strategic and operational levels.

"Also termed service management thinking, service management is a systematic method for managing the offering, contracting and provisioning of services to customers, at a known quality, cost and designed experience. Service management ensures the desired results and customer satisfaction levels are achieved cost effectively, and is a means by which the customer experience and interaction with products, services, and the service provider organization is designed and managed. Service management is also a transformation method for any organization that wishes to operate as a service provider organization."

Read What is Service Experience and Why Does It Matter? - Part 2

Nancy Van Elsacker Louisnord is President of TOPdesk USA
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