Creating the Right Service Philosophy


Meenakshi Kharb
Lecturer in Management Studies


Creating value is the guiding principle of modern management. This is a significant shift in management philosophy; moving from managing resources (input) to managing performance (output). At the same time, it is an intriguing phrase, the meaning of which is far from clear. When people think about the work carried out in companies, they are more likely to think about the actual goods and services coming out of them, rather than an abstract concept called value.

Nevertheless, the mission of any corporate management is to create value. Value comes from different aspects and sources — from the utility of a product, its quality, its image, its availability and the after-sales service by the company. Value is defined not by what a company does, but by what its customers want. Some people like fast food, while some people dislike it. Some people swear by their cell phones, some others swear at people who use them in public. What is food for one may be poison for another.

Customer service: What it means?

The activities involved in ensuring that a product or service is delivered to the customer on time and in correct quantities.

Lalonde and Zinszer defined customer service as those activities that occur at the interface between the customer and the corporation which enhance or facilitate the sale and use of the corporation's products or services . They divided customer service into temporal sequence:

  • Pre-transaction elements
  • Transaction elements
  • Post transaction elements

Pre -transaction elements

These elements establish a climate for good customer service and include:

  • Written customer service policy -is the policy communicated internally or externally is it understood
  • Accessibility -are we easy to contact /do business with?
  • Organization structure –is there a customer service management structure in place?
  • System flexibility-can the system be adapted to met particular customer needs? Can the system continue to function in the face of unexpected problems e.g. strikes adverse conditions?

Transaction elements

These elements are those that directly result in the delivery of the product to the customer, for example:

  • Order cycle time-what is the total elapsed time from initiation of the order by the customer until delivery to the customer?
  • Stock availability-what percentage of demand for each item can be met from stock?
  • Order  status report
  • These transaction elements of customer service are the most visible because of the direct impact they have on sales.

Post transaction elements

These elements represent the array of services needed to support the product in the field:

  • Availability of spare –what are the in stocks levels of service parts?
  • Call out time-how long does it takes for the engineer to arrive?
  • Product tracing-are we able to recall potentially dangerous products from the market place?
  • Customer complaints –how promptly are complaints and returns dealt with? Do we measure customer satisfaction with our response?

Though the temporal sequence relates to product environment but most of its constituent is applicable to service sector and specially to industrial and after sale service.

Customer service is very difficult area and it is practically impossible to reach an agreement on its meaning, but in order to understand the possible meaning of it-let us try to divide the organization activities in two parts i.e. primary secondary activities. For example:

Primary activity of

Hotel: providing rooms on rent
Transport operator: providing transport for carrying for goods
Restaurant: cook and sell food

Secondary activity of

Hotel: after sales service, complaints handling, terms of payment
Transport operator: physical distribution
Restaurant: giving convenience  environment to the customer

Meeting the service challenge

In service industry- service is key success and this success is a consequence of how well a customer feels his or her needs are being met. Recently competition has increased significantly in the service sector. The customer has wide option to choice if he is not being treated the way he wants to be treated. Losing a customer costs a lot to the company. To ensure that customer is retained –firms have to excel in customer service. Over period studies have shown that market share captured by offering product feature has declined while the share captured by a customer service continues to increase.


Create the Right  Service Philosophy

Service quality beings with employees. Every individual who works for a service organization must understand the values, beliefs and overriding objectives of the organization. In this way everyone is working from the same set of beliefs. Generally this is done by creating mission statements or guiding philosophies and then disseminating these to all concerned so that everyone understands what is expected of them As an employees at Radissons hotel, all employees lean the organization's service goal and strategy. So we need to create an right philosophy in the minds of customer


  • Customer service: meaning and measurement, national council of physical distribution management, 1976
  • Zeithmal valarie service marketing, pearson education
  • M.K. Rampal, S.L. Gupta service marketing, galgotia publishing company
  • The Hindu business line  dated Dec 11, 2006

Meenakshi Kharb
Lecturer in Management Studies

Source: E-mail July 12, 2008


Articles No. 1-99 / Articles No. 100-199 / Articles No. 200-299 / Articles No. 300-399
Articles No. 400-499 / Articles No. 500-599 / Articles No. 600-699 / Articles No. 700-799
Back to Articles 800 Onward / Faculty Column Main Page