ITIL® 4 in action: Should the customer always be king?

The customer is king - we've known that for a long time. But that doesn't automatically mean that the service provider has to take on the role of the subject. How is that supposed to work? That is described in the ITIL 4 value system with all its components. This framework focuses on collaboration and shared value creation between customer and service provider. In addition to the 34 practices, which provide recommendations and thus support for the daily implementation of service management activities, the seven basic principles, which are helpful to us in our interaction, and the four dimensions, which describe the resources of the service provider, there is a particular focus on the mutual enrichment of service provider and customer.

When it comes to service management, it's the teamwork that counts

ITIL is not new, of course; it was launched by the British government back in the 1980s. The framework has long been recognized worldwide as a system- and vendor-independent collection of best practices for the control, coordination and management of services. It is now well known that service management is not only applied in the classic IT environment, but also in everyday interactions, e.g., in a restaurant, with an insurance company, or with a travel company. It is therefore always about the relationship between service provider and customer.

What does that mean in practice? A service offering should always focus on the customer and his or her perspective. ITIL 4 describes this in the context of "Drive Stakeholder Value" with the "Customer Experience". Jeff Bezos, the inventor of Amazon, also used this insight to make his company successful. The customer is certainly the focus, but the intentions and goals of the service provider should not be forgotten.

In times of Corona, we experience daily how important the balance between customer and service provider is. The advantage of digitization, which ITIL describes in the context of "High Velocity IT", has found its way into our everyday lives and opens up an infinite number of possibilities for the customer when comparing providers. The wishes and needs of the customer are as varied as they are changeable, and most service providers try to respond quickly and flexibly to these ever-changing requirements.

With ITIL to a successful Customer Journey

One method of aligning the intentions of the customer and the service provider is the much-used service level agreements. These are purposeful if they are unambiguous, clearly understandable, and results-based. This means that both service provider and customer have a common understanding of the jointly agreed service quality and stand behind it. Contractual agreements that are neither understandable nor up-to-date or not insightful do not help either side. Nor are these agreements about the service provider being gagged by the customer, nor about the provider being able to hide behind vague service descriptions with his service provision. From my own experience, I can say that a (service) relationship is not one-sided and must be lived by both sides.

Despite digitization and the speed of services, personal contact and a good, trusting relationship therefore make the difference in many situations. For long-term and successful collaboration, service providers and customers must meet at eye level. So it's not about winners and losers, but about working together. We can't do without each other. Cohesion and community between service provider and customer make us stronger. Being responsive to each other brings value to both sides.

I would like to support the service providers in my private environment and stay with those with whom I have had good experiences and have gone on a positive "Customer Journey" in accordance with ITIL - and there are so many of them. No matter if customer or provider, both sides should become stronger and better together. If you want to learn more about the strengths of jointly created value, start with the ITIL 4 Foundation Training and go on an exciting journey in service management with SERVIEW.


No comments

Write comment

* These fields are required