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02-09-2020    By  First Contact  

Service is about outcomes. Regardless of the industry, subject matter experts (SME) in service delivery understand the prime imperative that occupiers (organisations) will need to (a) deploy a specialised service, and (b) engage a SME provider, instead of simply “insourcing” this competency. How do you approach planning, transition, delivery and measurement without knowing what the organisation’s strategic goals and culture alignment are?

HBR (2019) offers an interesting perspective. The authors argue the importance of a sound needs identification, continuously emphasised throughout the article, and the latest organisational research suggests an overemphasis on “profiling” the customer – e.g. believing a customer is similar to x, or would prefer A over B, prevails. Whilst important, it can only help so much in delivering a solution at a particular point in time; not just over the entire service process.

Find the Problem, Find the Endgame!

Know your customers’ “Jobs to be Done”[i]

We support the view that each occupier should ask two fundamental questions: “What are our current service issues?” and “What do we want to achieve?’, resulting in the premise how to connect strategy to organisational culture.

Yes, strategy and culture do matter! Being aware of the twin organisational “signposts'', gives us a clearer indication if the SME does, in fact, have the foresight and capability to deliver on the occupier strategic aspirations. Supporting this view, Harvard’s Clay Christiansen concept of incorporating the notion of “Jobs to be Done”, underpins the chosen strategy goal with productivity measures. Essentially, this brings accountability and functionality as a key plank to the desired service mapping project, without sacrificing organisational productivity .[ii]

This service map removes the guesswork. Offering a clear linkage to the desired service state, one can create a transition, deployment and a measurement plan that actively fulfils that organisational need.

Outsourcers: Innovating through Subject Matter Expertise

“84% of business leaders see innovation as a high priority, but 94% are not satisfied with their innovation performance”[iii]

Subject matter experts pride themselves on robust service models that improve performance and incorporate innovation. Occupiers seek this expertise.

Remember this when planning the solution; a SME operating standards should incorporate innovation systems to the occupier. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but not every organisation will have the systems to scrutinise the SME innovation enhancement.

Innovation provides measurable improvements. It brings relevance to organisational-wide service using these incremental improvements, based on TQM principles, and risk protocols to heighten the customer experience and employee engagement. So, how do we incorporate improvements into a service-based model?

Sound financial measurement. 

If you can’t measure; don’t do it! This is why it is critically important, especially in long-term engagements, to ascertain the desired outcome. It shapes meaningful discussions, regular reviews to develop minor changes, and modified priorities. This can even lead to scope increases – making your organisation even more invaluable. These new services/innovations can then be added to your capabilities for future projects.

Correlating Strategy and Execution: The Critical Service Path Methodology

All service touch-points do matter. Reaching into First Contact’s experience, where we consult occupier workplaces, their employees, clients and visitors with a multitude of requests every day, one begins to understand the complexity involved with interconnecting ‘jobs to be done’ within a workplace.

If one of our client’s strategic goals is related to client retention, or new client acquisition, it takes a collaborative approach to achieve this, which starts at the front door.

Let’s take the client retention example, and look at First Contact’s critical service path: 


 A single visit by an existing client will have at least five areas of engagement and measurement – incorporating both our workplace services team, and our customer’s teams/employees.

Given these types of interactions are occurring multiple times per day (sometimes hundreds) this potentially provides thousands of interactions on a quarterly basis to collect data for measurement against goals, and to determine how workplace service outcomes correlate with the strategic goal of retaining clients. In this instance, we consider three sets of “jobs to be done” as: our customer’s, their employees’, and also their client’s.

This example shows that simply providing a service is not enough - know how your service impacts the operational, management and strategic ‘jobs to be done’ of your customers and their clients. 

Never underestimate the effect that service ‘deliverables’ can have - no matter how insignificant you may think you are to your customers’ high level goals, success is never the result of one single interaction or ‘point in time’ for many strategic objectives. 

Your customers see value in the work you do, so keep up the great work!


[ii] Ibid

[iii] Ibid

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