The reason I write this today is this – Some brands differentiate to market a service for a premium that the client cannot justify. In fact, several brands tend to latch on like in a lobby to fetch that premium with no semblance of reliability or accuracy with the supposed standard of service.
There have been waves of assessment for example, that were sold as certification in the differentiation effort. The PCMM or People Capability Maturity Model from Carnegie Mellon was one such. Assessors for the Software Engineering Institute know for the most part that they assess to a scheme of practices and goals, seeking consistency between documents of intent – policies and procedures and documents of practice – of reviews and measurements. There is not even an attempt to check for the validity of terms on these documents. E.g. the word competency could mean a technical skill in one organisation and a behavioural outcome in another and the Assessor will give no guarantee for the internal consistency of the term for the assessment he or she is given responsibility for! They would give sublime rationalisations to the effect that they rather focus on the spirit of the assessment than the content of the effort of the assessee.
Service is valued when it is authentic, spontaneously delivered and available when demanded.
Would you care for a bank office whose internal walls contain hoardings of minimum service time for various service requests are violated ad nauseam? At times, you can see through the inconvenient compromise that management and unions arrive at to take away from their own inventiveness and service capability, even as you stand in line for tasting their stated predictability.
Would you like to pay premia for culturally irrelevant norms, that you feel are imposed, merely because they sold the feature, even before the service is consumed?
How about an ICA or ICF credentialed coach, when there is no legal requirement in your own country to license coaches for your development? Even without a GATT regime for such services, several who need coaching will be deprived of service merely because the service is not affordable. It is like medical bills that get inflated to amortize costs of equipment that have only a remote influence on the patient’s survival.
And then there is the case for OD certification, when even in the lands of their origin, there is no eligibility criterion for professional qualifications to practice OD. In my experience, many Indian firms may fail to appoint Personnel Officers in line with the factories Act, 1948, despite the hundreds of courses recognised by the government for this purpose.
In order to standardise delivery, I have seen ‘trainers’ of sales, service and leadership behaviors, recite the same joke, at the precise calendar time of the day, as if there were no differences between their circadian rhythms or neural structures. You can imagine how they relate to their customers, assuming that every customer was Henry Ford’s prototype of the Model T purchaser. Service providers continue to have their cognitive flaws when taking lessons from analogies, metaphors, and unrelated service sectors.
Often, when the above is factored in service, need for legislative or risk cover in insurance goes down. You get an experience of credibility, higher than the vacuous exposition of competence. What you realise in the process is a confidence in your own needs, and a clarity on value for purposes you engage in.
Buzzwords like globalisation, ‘international’ standards, and MNCs have their sway in times of change. That, like someone mentioned, should not take away from the wealth in your own home. We can do with less clutter on the inside and more collaboration on the outside for sure. In our eagerness to co-operate with models from distant contexts, we may in fact have lost our capacity to collaborate. If this post were not of value to you, do let me know. How can we be more reconciled to such choices in the service economy if we are not willing to explore how much more we have within ourselves?