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The Digital Renaissance

A Beginner’s Guide to Service Delivery Models

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When businesses strive to improve efficiency and deliver high-quality products and services while maximizing profit, one of the first lines-of-business they look at to drive such improvements is their service delivery model. 

Transforming service delivery processes can be tricky, but it can also result in significant innovation that can substantially improve profit margins. Think about the technological advancements that have streamlined product manufacturing, enabling manufacturers to produce vastly more products while maintaining a level of quality that delights customers.

The same can be done for service-based businesses, but it’s often more complex than simply applying new technologies. It often requires a new way of thinking, too.

In this article, we’ll first take a look at the basics and benefits of the modern service delivery model. We’ll also run through some examples of efficient and optimized service delivery models to help you understand how you can apply proven concepts to your own business. 

What Is a Service Delivery Model?

A services delivery model is a business framework of interrelated processes involved in providing a service and the interactions between the service provider and the customer throughout the business relationship. It utilizes technological advancements and improved operational systems and policies to cater to diverse sectors: education, healthcare, financial, you name it.

Effective service delivery models allow businesses to provide the services their customers want or need at a profitable price and an acceptable level of quality. A service delivery model also makes it possible to add value for the customer through consistent processes, policies, procedures, and limitations that guide the delivery of services and interactions between the provider and customer for the duration of the business relationship. 

What Are the Types of Service Delivery Models?

Service delivery models can vary depending on the industry and services. For instance, information technology infrastructure library (ITIL) services meet their clients’ technological needs through configuration systems, databases, and service catalogs. One of the most widely used service delivery models, ITIL’s general backbone consists of service level management, financial management, capacity management, continuity management, and availability management. 

Another example: general business consulting services guide clients in providing necessary training and information to fuel growth. They can also assist in content creation, human resources, and financial processes. A real estate service model can help customers look for residential or commercial properties while coordinating inspections and contracts.

In essence, service models are all about execution. In the same way every industry–major verticals to niche markets–requires a unique set of products, they also require a unique set of services.

Why Should You Invest in a Service Delivery Model?

The short answer: for the exact same reasons you invest in new technology. Developing and maintaining an effective services delivery model helps companies keep up with advancements in execution that can improve business processes. It’s akin to a template that helps ensure your services consistently meet (or beat) customer expectations. An effective model can also help reduce operational costs and contribute to a more seamless business operation.

With a proven service delivery model, you’ll have a set of standards, policies, and principles in place for your company to follow. You’ll also be able to see potential bottlenecks and limitations in service delivery that could hinder you from achieving your goals. Additionally, such models can help your company outperform its competitors by allowing you to allocate your staff and resources more effectively.

What Are the Elements of a Services Delivery Model?

An effective service delivery model has a clear boundary between the roles and responsibilities of the provider and its clients. It also looks at the expectations of its customers and the timeline and availability of its delivery.

There are four primary elements in building an efficient and effective service delivery model — service culture, employee engagement, service quality, and customer experience. While these elements are interrelated, service culture is absolutely foundational.

  1. Establish and Maintain a Service Culture 

The most fundamental component in developing a services delivery model is establishing your service culture. To do this, you’ll need to “bake in” your company’s principles, values, vision, and mission to your model(s). A primary advantage of starting with building a service culture is that it influences everything that comes next in how you deliver services.

  1. Encourage Employee Engagement

The second essential element in a services delivery model relies heavily on your employees and human resources department. You’ll need to focus on employee attitudes, activities, and leadership skills–and ensure it’s all aligned to the culture you’ve created. And it’s a win-win, as engaged employees are more productive, too.

Think of this step at putting the culture created in step one “into action.” Although establishing a service culture is the “value” of your model, encouraging employee engagement is the mission and fuels its execution. Foster their skills and attitudes. Encourage contribution and feedback. Because no matter how refined your service processes and culture may be, they won’t deliver any returns if engagement is low.

  1. Ensure Service Quality 

Once you’ve established your service culture and improved employee engagement, the next component is to ensure service quality. This element includes strategies, processes, and systems to improve and maintain consistent performance within a company. Specifics could be surveying customers before and after service delivery.

A key element in ensuring service quality is ensuring customers receive adequate support in achieving their own targets and goals via your service delivery model. Remember the keyword in service is “serve,” as in to serve others, as in your customers.

  1. Focus on Customer Experience

Finally, your service delivery model should apply a principle of co-creation with your customers: your clients’ outcomes should highly influence your model’s design. Each model deployed should match client practices, needs, wants, and ideas. Additionally, it should include account management and intelligence sharing that speak each client’s language (literally and metaphorically).

It follows that every company should constantly evaluate its service delivery models from a client’s point of view. Evaluations from this viewpoint are critical in adjusting and improving current systems and maintaining customer satisfaction.

Final Thoughts

It’s always about the client. Every service delivery model you build has to be client-centric. It’s not about wowing clients with the latest technologies (though that can help), but meeting their needs in a way that makes them feel understood and supported.

Far too often, a business in a slump looks at its products and its people as the culprits. When in most every case, business success comes faster, more easily, and more completely with a thorough evaluation of services, ensuring you have in place a proven, scalable, and customer-focused service delivery model.

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