Skip to main content


Recently I was having a discussion with a colleague. The discussion centered on value, what it means and how we deliver it to customers and users of IT Services. One particular part of the discussion focused on how you can easily add value in small increments that combine to bring satisfaction to customers. My colleague mentioned an interesting idea from a restaurateur named Bob Farrell, the founder of a chain of Ice Cream Parlors. He sold the chain and became a motivational speaker based on what he learned from the restaurant industry and how to drive better value and customer satisfaction.

Bob had once received a letter from a customer indicating loss of satisfaction when the server was going to charge him for a single pickle slice to go with his burger. From this letter Bob Farrell derived the importance of the small things we should do for customers and users of our goods and services to ensure satisfaction. Providing value to customers does not have to arrive in large portions. Oftentimes it is the small, low-cost, seemingly insignificant things that customers appreciate and acknowledge the most. These small acts and demonstrations of value lead to big payoffs.
So how can we learn some fundamentals for IT Service Management from the need to give a customer an extra pickle slice at no cost? Let’s look at a number of small ways we can add value to the provisioning and delivery of Services to customers and users.

  • Service Solutions: Determine the most used functionality of a service. Then build in discounts over time for continued use and loyalty to those common features. Supply every fifth requirement at a deep discount or free.
  • Service Management Tools: Go Open Source or look to use full inherent features in tools rather than purchasing or building tools to meet highly customized, specific needs. Avoid customization and adjust your thinking rather than the tool.
  • Architecture: Seek simplicity and flexibility. Avoid overcomplicated or difficult to support, cutting edge technologies until they have settled into the mainstream. Avoid “Keeping up with the Joneses”.
  • Measurements and Metrics: Avoid overwhelming customers with lots of measures, metrics and reports. Reduce the number of measures and focus on the relationship with the customer more than the numbers. Use smiley faces to indicate satisfaction. Use simple, to-the-point reports rather than fancy dashboards.
  • Process: Keep process to around 4-5 steps; keep procedures to 4-5 steps. Provide more comprehensive training on process rather than overly detailed work instructions.
The key to adding value is to understand your customer and users; also knowing yourself. What makes you happy? What brings you satisfaction? What are the small things you can do to bring a smile to your customers and users? Once we get a handle on the bigger picture of customer satisfaction, then providing that pickle slice can be seen as a small means to a greater end.


Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner?

I was recently asked to clarify the roles of the Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner and wanted to share this with you. Roles and Responsibilities: Process Owner – this individual is “Accountable” for the process. They are the goto person and represent this process across the entire organization. They will ensure that the process is clearly defined, designed and documented. They will ensure that the process has a set of Policies for governance. Example: The process owner for Incident management will ensure that all of the activities to Identify, Record, Categorize, Investigate, … all the way to closing the incident are defined and documented with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, handoffs, and deliverables.  An example of a policy in could be… “All Incidents must be logged”. Policies are rules that govern the process. Process Owner ensures that all Process activities, (what to do), Procedures (details on how to perform the activity) and the

Four Service Characteristics

Recently I came across several articles by researchers and experts that laid out definitions and characteristics of services. ITIL provides us with a definition that can help drive the creation of value-laden services: A means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks. An area that ITIL is not so clear is in terms of service characteristics. Several researchers and experts put forth that services have four basic characteristics (IHIP): ·          Intangibility—Services are the results of actions not things. They have no physical presence and represent a logical set of elements. One way to think of service is “work done for others.” ·          Heterogeneity—Also known as “variability”; services are unique items because of the mechanisms used to deliver services-that is people. Because the people element adds variability, the service is variable. This holds true especially for th

How Does ITIL Help in the Management of the SDLC?

I was recently asked how ITIL helps in the management of the SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle).  Simply put... SDLC is a Lifecycle approach to produce the software or the "product".  ITIL is a Lifecycle approach that focuses on the "service". I’ll start by reviewing both SDLC and ITIL Lifecycles and then summarize: SDLC  -  The intent of an SDLC process is to help produce a product that is cost-efficient, effective and of high quality. Once an application is created, the SDLC maps the proper deployment of the software into the live environment. The SDLC methodology usually contains the following stages: Analysis (requirements and design), construction, testing, release and maintenance.  The focus here is on the Software.  Most organizations will use an Agile or Waterfall approach to implement the software through the Software Development Lifecycle. ITIL  -  is a best practice for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with