Current Crises Calls for Smart Service Leadership Part I: An introduction to service leadership

Noventum's Service Leadership Course provides managers with a concise and integrated guide to successful service transformation. For more information view our website at the bottom of this page.
Jan. 31, 2012 - PRLog -- As Europe’s economic fortunes plummet, effective management of your service business becomes integral to ensuring profit. Amidst increased pressure to deliver a mature service capability, the financial status quo provides the opportunity to review your modus operandi and embrace powerful new incentives to enact a total service transformation. Without good leadership however, new initiatives tend to veer off track. Leadership is, more often than not, the major differentiating factor in a company’s level of success. The question becomes: What makes a successful leader in the services and how do you lead your company to profitable growth? At Noventum, our consultants have defined four priorities to first-rate service leadership; a good Strategy, focus on the Customer Experience, attention to the virtues of (what we call) the Service Factory, and developing your Employees’ skills and understanding. These considerations will be addressed in the upcoming Service & Maintenance Conference and through our executive Service Leadership Course.

Finding the right strategy
To develop a robust Services Strategy, a good leader needs to understand the potential that exists in the service business, where to find this potential in the market and how added value is generated through services. They then need to be informed as to which successful service strategies are available to them, and which are best suited to achieve their organisations’ objectives. Once a Strategy has been developed, leaders need to know how correctly to set it up to implement real service transformation. A great number of factors comprise a solid service strategy, including the now prevailing question of sustainability. Businesses would do well to consider whether they have a sustainable business model, which is good not only for customer and the company, but also for the employees.

Great promises, shame about the delivery
The customer is always right is a well-known dictum for a reason. Good service leaders understand how the customer perceives value and they cater for it. They maintain an evolving understanding of his changing needs using modern and often advanced customer research methods so that they can ultimately act positively on this information. If you look at your business from the customer’s perspective, the intangible nature of the service business means customers can’t evaluate the level of service before buying it; so they buy it on the brand promise. Leaders have to ask themselves whether the customer is really experiencing value? Is it solely delivering a result or additionally delivering a positive experience? All too often the crucial difference lies here, in the subtle distinction between what you do and how exactly you do it. At Noventum, Customer Experience Management is a discipline we nurture that helps companies to design and stage memorable customer experiences, which live up to their brand promise —a key factor to differentiating a company from its competition. A good maxim to remember is that a customer may well forget what you tell them, but they never forget how you make them feel!

Consistency and the human touch
Thirdly a good leader understands that processes and management practices can either enable or hinder a good delivery of services in preparation for scalable growth. At Noventum, we use the term Service Factory as an analogy to a real factory, which lives by the virtues of standardisation. Although the service business doesn’t manufacture anything, it’s important to consider that standardisation can make your service consistent and profitable and help grow your business quickly. But while using the real factory analogy, there exists a paradox. In the service world no customer requires a standard service, each customer is unique. The contradiction is that, in tandem, your business needs to be able to personalise the service experience. We’ve created the term Standardised Personalisation to describe this. First-rate service leadership means knowing how to deal with this dynamic; finding the balance and striking the chord between consistent quality and the human touch. In today’s financial uncertainty, leaders have to build an organisation that can provide cost effective yet customer-centric services.

Power to your people
Equally as important as the customer and his experience of your service are your employees, who typically account for 60-70 per cent of a service organisation’s costs. It’s the people that make the difference. The challenge is how to create customer-oriented behaviour in every employee. How do you, as a leader, inspire these employees and effect what we call Powerful People Performance? This is where true leadership skills are demonstrated.

In almost every company founded by a true entrepreneur, typically the entire company follows his values. They actually live by his philosophy and while there are no written rules on what they can or cannot do, the expectations of them actually drive their behaviour. The challenge is to define the right profile of personnel—people who can embrace your brand internally within the company so that they will start to live according to your company’s values.

The preeminent example here is (of course) Apple; driving the behaviour not only of their customers but also their employees. When the Macintosh first marketed itself in 1984, it signalled a message of cool revolution, spearheaded by the man who personified the brand. Those who belonged to the Apple tribe, employees and customers alike, represented creativity, liberal thinking, good taste and idealism. It was the core of what made Apple successful. Three decades later, the company still follows this branding template. Successful leaders not only know how to conduct effective marketing outside of their company towards customers, but also internal marketing, loading the brand with sufficient meaning so it drives behaviour.

Do you want to learn more about Service Leadership?
Noventum will deliver a keynote presentation on many of the above aspects of good service leadership at the Service and Maintenance Conference (SMC) 2012. Features include discussions on Operational Excellence and addressing topics such as: New Service Developments, Low-cost Service Delivery Models, Customer Experience Management and People Development.

The conference’12 will be held on the 9th February at the Amrâth Hotel Brabant, Breda, Netherlands. For more information visit

Noventum's Service Leadership Course provides managers with a concise and integrated guide to successful service transformation. For more information on the course visit or to browse our website visit

An in-depth look at Smart Service Leadership follows in Part II

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Our firm is specialised in Strategic Service Management, assisting large and medium size businesses to differentiate their service offerings. Our global research activities provide the resources to help our clients innovate and add value to customers.
Source:Noventum Service Management
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Phone:+44 (0)1279 461777
Zip:CM23 3SL
Tags:Leadership, Service, Customer Experience, Strategy, Maintenance, Service Transformation, Service & Maintenance Conference
Industry:Service Management
Location:Bishop’s Stortford - Hertfordshire - England
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