As Jan van Bon is articulates in his In Control with USM newsletter, he discusses what it means to be customer-driven:

“In the fourth growth phase of the Value Maturity Model, customer-driven, a balance is created between the position of the customer and the provider. The customer and the provider learn to determine together how the service is provided and how value is created for the customer. This is where the term ‘co-creation’ kicks in.”

Jan van Bon

Of course, this thinking is not necessarily new and in the book An Introduction to the USM Method it recognizes that the USM Value Maturity Model is based on a study by KPMG more than two decades ago. Don’t let this fool you! The USM Method has a wealth of information that is critically needed for today’s enterprise service management requirements.

USM Value Maturity Model

“There have been multiple instances where one ‘expert’ or another took something, ‘improved it’, and re-published it as new thinking. … even Deming spent a great deal of time copying Shewhart’s ideas and devising ways to present them in his own way. Students of continuous improvement are therefore students of history to some degree.

This sometimes creates friction between authors and confusion around who exactly is an ‘authoritative source’.

This is the nature of the beast.”

from Rolling Uphill

The new thinking of USM is more about adapting than adopting. One of the things I like most about USM is that it takes many of the lessons we’ve learned and looks at them from the perspective of a method for establishing a service management system rather than a framework or a practice.

USM and CEMM’s Successful Customer Outcomes

The facility that USM describes in its definition of a service (as a supported facility) can be related to the USM Value Maturity Model. When defining a facility from a customer-driven perspective, it reminded me of Successful Customer Outcomes from the Customer Expectation Management Method (CEMM).

Unified Service Management Method – Service as a Supported Facility

Facility – the combination of goods and actions that is made available to a customer in the course of service delivery and that is supported by the provider in its use by that customer.

The functionality of a facility specifies what a facility can do, or what a user can do with it (i.e., fit for purpose), and the functioning of a facility specifies how well the facility performs its functionality (i.e., fit for use).

Support – the assistance that a customer receives from the provider when using the facility; functionality of support specifies what kind of support the user gets (i.e., fit for purpose), and the functioning of support specifies how well the support is delivered (i.e., fit for use).

Customer Expectation Management Method (CEMM) – Successful Customer Outcomes

Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO) are the embodiment of what customers actually want from us, the organization. When crafting SCO statements:

• Ensure SCO statements embody what customers really want from us

• Represent personal perspective of the customer (i.e., outside-in)

• Ensure SCO statements are actionable

• Ensure SCO statements are measurable

• Ensure SCO statements make the customers’ life simpler, easier, and more successful if we deliver on them

Successful Customer Outcomes and the USM Value Maturity Model

The output of applying USM’s approach that a service is a supported facility does not necessarily guarantee a customer-driven definition of service, although that is clearly USM’s goal.

USM recognizes that customers also have different levels of maturity based on the Value Maturity Model.

Customer-Provider Value Maturity

If a provider is on level 2, and thus focuses on the systems that produce the service, and the customer is on level 4 and wants ‘integrated solutions for the business’, there is little chance of a satisfactory relationship between the two. Conversely, if a level 1 customer is only looking for cheap goods, and the provider at level 3 offers integrated services, the chances of a mismatch are also high.

The USM Method

What this means is that a Successful Customer Outcome (SCO) may be defined by a customer at any level of the USM Value Maturity Model. In other words, taking an outside-in approach to understanding what the customer wants from you as a service provider doesn’t automatically suggest that you must deliver services at level 4 of the USM Value Maturity Model.

Perceptions of Value, Successful Customer Outcomes and Service Specifications

When we use CEMM and stand in in the shoes of the customer to describe our successful customer outcome from this outside-in point of view, we should remember that value is determined by the observer.

So, if you’re talking to a person who wants a certain technology maintained you may get a technically driven definition of a service (i.e., I need my heating unit maintained); but if you’re talking to human resources, they may simply state a need for comfortable office environments (i.e., keep the room at 72 degrees).

Value can also be considered from different perspectives which could include social norms, technical possibilities, or cultural acceptance in addition to the specific stakeholders involved. In addition, it’s difficult to determine value in advance. The user experience has a major influence on the value of the service.

The result is that the enterprise is constantly accelerating the pace at which they attempt to co-create value with the customer and translate this value into business cases that have social, environmental, relationship and/or value-in use benefits for both parties.

This is resulting in a continuous flow of wishes from customers and providers alike as they attempt to co-create value, and a constant need to adapt routines across the service ecosystem(s).

Thinking Differently with The USM Method

Your service specification (a supported facility) will drive technical specifications and subsequent changes that will impact the routines of the provider(s). The use of practice frameworks requires a service management system that can quickly adopt industry best practice frameworks and adapt these routines to ever-changing internal and external customer requirements (without having to adapt the service management system as well).

We have enough of an uphill roll today. Leverage the USM Method and establish a service management system for the entire enterprise today.

Published by myservicemonitor

I am an independent service management consultant with two decades of experience helping customers.

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