Service Management is a cultural question

May 3, 2012

Translation of the Original Article by Siegfried Lautenbacher

You can hear it from every corner, in every Congress, read in every tender and everyone wants to have it: concepts such as service culture, service quality, or service orientation. "Man, that's service!" we think, if our expectations are exceeded. If only by the polite service in the morning at your baker, or when shopping if you (yes that does happen!) are served perfectly. Now, how do you achieve that a customer leaves your “shop” with just this thought, or even better with this feeling? Above all, that he passes his enthusiasm on to others. This is how new satisfied customers can be won – practically for free: Service is Customer Loyalty! Just the term "ITIL implementation" is - to put it mildly - useless! Surprised? ITIL cannot be implemented, you cannot buy it, and you cannot install it. (For the technicians amongst us), you cannot even verbalize it with “we now have ITIL”.

You have to live “it” – day by day and year by year! Implementation is the wrong term. "Change of Corporate Culture" would be more appropriate. If you want to know how long an "ITIL or Service Management Introduction" takes, then take a critical look at your own business. For companies that want to increase their own quality of service, the two notions of service culture and service orientation are of central importance. However, what does that really mean? Many companies and (unfortunately) consultants promise the introduction of IT Service Management (usually also ITIL) within a very short time. I heard at a congress that it would take six weeks. Even the operative “Implementation” of 16 ITIL Processes is supposed to be perfectly done in 4 months? Sounds fantastic. "Brevity is the soul of wit", so the saying goes. Well, if it only would be like that. How is our culture? Can we even speak about service culture? ITIL was developed in the 80ies. Service orientation, culture and quality existed long before that. How satisfied are your customers with your current service culture? How satisfied are they with your service orientation & culture? What is service to them? Get feedback from your environment - even you yourself are also "environment" ... this is free advice. Furthermore, you should know if the people in your organization happy and ready to change – optimization would also be fitting here. You probably know the proverbial "comfort zone discussion". O rare you experiencing this: „I’ve been in IT for 25 years, everything works, and nobody can tell me anything”? The lived culture plays a significant role in the period of change to a real service quality. The “drawing” of ITIL - or other service processes – is in the case of an “old-fashioned IT culture” the wrong approach and will fail. I can guarantee that. Long of persuasion, looking for allies, coaching, quick wins, internal resistance, etc. All these are elements you will have to stumble across in order to get ahead. And, it will take months, if not years. In the language of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" I would describe the delimitation of service to the product as follows: Service cannot drop on your foot……………………a product very well can