The Root Cause of Service Failure (my 4th book in CS)


3 min read

Following the success of the three books I have written, I am writing my fourth. This time, I would like to focus on understanding the root cause of service failure.

Merriam Webster defines service as an "act of kind assistance or helpfulness to a person." This definition only agrees with a service provider. But from a relationship perspective, it consists of the following ideologies.

  1. It contains the value received by the customers.
  2. It is a health parameter measured by customers to ensure that their relationship is par and consistent.
  3. It is what the customer looks forward to, for the business to deliver the success they aspire to achieve. 
  4. It is the result of purposeful activities designed to achieve their (customers) desired goals and success. 
  5. It is the power that customers hold and demonstrate from their existing and future relationships.
  6. It is the advantage and benefits of business over other businesses.

Understanding the service failure is NOT about changing or replacing the value customers already received but establishing it even more. We should not confuse service with the value customers are looking for and what they expect from us.

Customers expect a quality relationship and invested resources to support them solve or overcome their challenges. They also want their existing or preferred vendors to work the extra mile to understand their unmet needs to meet. But the value is the substantive representation of what they experience and are satisfied [with].The service aspect is what we develop, enhance, provide, and improve. 

The business value is the advantage customers have employed or implemented for the good of their business. The difference between service value and expected value in understanding the service failure depends on the impact of the effort made. In other words, a service failure does not occur because the support team failed to support customers or the sales team sold the wrong product, or the product team could not deliver the requested product features. It all starts with understanding the business model you run and operate

Paul Graham, Venture Capitalist and co-founder of Y Combinator, thoughtfully expressed, "You know your business model is (broken) when you're using your customers." 

What is a business model? It is how you deliver value, provide and offer your service to your customers. If the business model reflects service value and customer success, which prognosis, Paul Graham sees that it can be put on the wrong foundation. Does that mean the business model carries the burden of resolving service failure?

According to HBR, a business model is an art that customers feel, recognize and appreciate.  In other words, your ability to provide meaningful service must keep pace with their growth. That is the only way and the best way for customers to prove if they have been successful or have had a healthy relationship.

On the other hand, if you're using your customers only to promote your business or brand to attract new customers - then your business model is broken (this is what Paul is articulating). You only view your customers as a means to an end. Let's not forget that customers are the single source of our success. 

I agree that the product or technology may win various recognition, but its longevity depends on the customer's eyes and hands. Hence, choosing the right business model is a must (I discussed the significance of a Service-Based Paradigm Mindset in my third book). If you do not provide or deliver the appropriate service value when customers do business with you - it is not called a relationship - it is just a blanket for covering your brand reputation.

I will look at the following success factors to understand the root cause of service failure. It is the business model Microsoft has been following for years. 1. Long-term Approach (sustainability)2. Passion for Products and Technology (the differentiation)3. Teamwork (collaboration)4. Results (measurable impact)5. Customer Feedback (customer's voice and insights)6. Individual Excellence (employee's growth).

Here's the graphical representation of this. 

I have finished a few chapters, but I still need help. I hope the CS community is willing to extend their expertise and guidance in shaping this book.