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What are your service principles?

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

In April I wrote a blog about how to develop your service strategy - if you missed it or need a refresh you can find the blog here.

In that blog I recommend that one element of every service strategy should be to include some service principles. Here I want to explore service principles in a little more detail. So here goes.

As mentioned in the service strategy blog, service principles are useful to check your service design and to share with your teams and your internal stakeholders. While not a long list, your service principles should include the critical considerations when designing any service interaction. Principles can be used to help shape the design of products, services and also technology solutions developed across your business.

Let me bring this to life. In a digital utility company I worked for I created a set of principles right at the beginning - even before launch. They were five key things to consider when designing service interactions. I shared them with other my team and the other teams across the business. We used these during the design stages of projects. Now I’d be lying if we achieved meeting them all every single time - we didn’t. What we did do was always consider all the principles and be openly clear about what was achievable and what what wasn't. If we couldn’t meet a principle there was consensus about this. So no nasty surprises at the point of go live!

As we went through launch and the business developed we learnt a lot about what our people and our customers needed. As with many businesses this knowledge and learning turned into improvements in functionality and the way we served our customers.

As a fast growing business in a rapidly changing market I reviewed our service strategy every nine months. As part of this review I also reviewed our service principles. There was no point developing the strategy and clinging onto ‘old’ principles. As businesses grow and flex so the service design needs to adapt. When they are out of line is when problems happen, cost to serve increases and dissatisfaction arises among people and customers.

As we grew and offered more products, services and also increased self-service functionality to customers our service principles changed and ended up being:

  1. Focus on making service low effort to our people and our customers

  2. Never ask customers for information we already hold about them

  3. Never leave anything to chance - no processes without an end

  4. Make information our teams have available to our customers

  5. Continuously use data to improve performance

These worked for us. Your company will have a different set. That will be based on the challenges you currently face, where your businesses focus needs to be and what stage of development the business and the service strategy is at.

The important thing is to be principled! And review them, and change them when you need to - as you achieve goals, reach milestones and your business flexes and develops.

If you want help with your service principles, strategy or support with any part of your operation drop me a message.

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