From Niyi Ogunbiyi, (Director, Change Enablers Ltd)
In our previous post, we made the case that public service providers needed to do more than simply measure customer satisfaction metrics. In order to understand why customers are satisfied or otherwise, it is necessary to understand the end-to-end service delivery lifecycle and to that end we introduced the “Service Excellence Capability Model” (SECM) with its four components. We looked at the first couple of components:
1. Understanding the Services Delivered
2. The Service Delivery process
In this post, we look at the last two components of this framework:
3. Measure Service Delivery
How does a service provider find out how well or otherwise, it is doing at delivering consistently excellent service? Answers on a postcard….. Full marks if your response was “by measuring service delivery performance”. However, in order to ensure that the critical attributes are being measured, there is a need to understand the critical KPIs for each service, whether that’s On-Time Delivery, Quality, Cycle Time, etc. It should be fairly easy to deduce this information if the service is well understood (recall that the first component in our framework is ‘Understanding the Services Delivered’). It is also worth measuring the Cost of Poor Quality (cost of re-work, pay-outs, litigation costs, etc.) with a view to understanding how much service delivery failure is costing the service provider. This information can provide an incentive to improve service delivery as it will likely demonstrate that any improvement costs more than pay for themselves.
A key part of this component is monitoring service delivery trends over time with a view to understanding whether service delivery is improving, staying the same or deteriorating.
4. Improve the Service
More likely than not, analysis of service delivery performance measurement will reveal that certain aspects of the service delivery lifecycle require improvement. Hence the last component of the framework explores service improvement. This starts with identifying sub-optimal service delivery together with associated root causes, then producing a service improvement action plan which details what will be done in order to improve these services. This component also reviews whether the actions undertaken are resulting in improvements to the service by validating the expected improvements in service delivery. Where improvement in service delivery is proven, action also needs to be taken to sustain these improvements with a view to ensuring that the services do not deteriorate again. Benchmarking against best of breed to provide a target for improvement would also be an activity that would fall within this component.
It goes without saying that implementing this model would require long-term commitment to service quality and will incur cost for public service providers. The question, though is not whether they can afford to do it but whether they can afford NOT to do it. As earlier mentioned, poor service has a cost associated with it which can be very significant. For example, from 2008 to 2012, the city of San Diego paid out an average of $355,000 a year in sidewalk-related legal claims. However potentially even more costly are the numerous and less publicized cases of waste and rework in service delivery. It goes without saying that facilitating excellent public service is cheaper and keeps customers happier.
So that’s it. What do you make of the framework? Interested in your thoughts. Please share them below. Thank you.