The purpose of a service system is to grow business by understanding and acting on what matters to customers. Traditional, command-and-control, service organisations often interfere with this purpose, some examples:

Procedures – Agents in a telephone service provider tell customers that they must ring different numbers for faults and customer service. The agents know this is an irritant for customers but they have been told it is a requirement of ISO 9000.

It is not a requirement of ISO 9000, someone has interpreted the Standard in a way which ensures customers find them difficult to do business with.

Productivity measures – Insurance clerks know that sending 2 letters out to the same customer is daft, but their manager measures the number of letters sent out of the door (and clerks have to make their measures).

Activity measures – telephone service agents have three minutes to handle calls, so they ensure they get rid of customers before the clock ticks on…

Lack of information – The people who deal with customers don’t have the information they need to help customers solve their problem. The people who do have the information are placed in ‘back-offices’ and customers have to get through barriers before they can reach someone who can help.