Constructing New Venues for Service Improvements Using the Architecture of Preventive Service Systems

Constructing New Venues for Service Improvements Using the Architecture of Preventive Service Systems

Elad Harison, Ofer Barkai
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch696
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Infrastructure monitoring is based on a dated set of practices aimed at discovering technical failures in service delivery facilities, such as water pipes and electrical lines (Carden and Brownjohn, 2008; Gul and Catbas, 2009). Its systems are usually based on a group of sensors that are embedded within the monitored equipment and continuously indicate its state of operation and whether any malfunctions occur (Pakzad et. al., 2008). However, these sensors capture only a pre-defined set of indicators, rather than a broader range of parameters that can highlight whether additional failures may occur and hence is limited to the identification of technical malfunctions in the monitored infrastructure and not to the wider contexts of their impact of on services that utilize them or on the population of consumers.

The inherent complexity of services and the large variety of customers, needs and quality perceptions impose significant challenges for service providers. Among them is the need to satisfy as many customers as possible, despite the inherent diversity of their tastes and quality demands. However, the improvement of services requires substantial expenditures on capital and skilled labour. Often, these investments do not yield the expected returns, due to perceptual differences existing between organizations and customers as to the quality and the scope of services that customers expect to receive (Parasuraman et al., 1985).

Alternatively, the success of a service might prove to be a double edge sword as service providers may experience success that ultimately leads to the failure of their venture. When a certain service succeeds and more customers join it, the quality of the service often decreases if the service provider fails to identify the increasing demand and continues to invest in the resources and facilities that support it (Duffy et al., 2006). For example, when an Internet provider offers high-demanded services of access to an ultra fast network, the number of users and their profile of use may exceed the network’s capacity within a short period, resulting in frequent communication malfunctions and “cutoffs.” Consequently, unless the service provider “catches-up” with the demand by allocating additional resources, the quality of the service would deteriorate and customers would abandon it. At the same time, new customers would hesitate to join the service due to its negative reputation.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Customer Satisfaction: The degree of perceived quality of services compared to the initial expectations of customers largely determines their satisfaction from the services that they acquire. Customer satisfaction can be evaluated via periodic customer surveys or through the activities of customers. For example, a satisfied customer may renew her contract with the service provider, while a dissatisfied customer may decide to discontinue her relations with the service provider.

Service Outage: Discontinuity in the provision of a service due to local or systematic failures of the service provision infrastructure. Reduction of the total number and duration of service outages can be achieved by the implementation of preventive service systems.

CRM System: An information system that documents the historical and current relations and interactions between service providers and their customers, including their contracts, service use habits and complaints. CRM systems should be integrated to preventive service systems to determine which customers should be notified about potential service failures (for example, due their size or due to their scope of activities) and how they should be notified about them (for example, via email or SMS).

Preventive Service System: An automated system that prevents service failures and outages or corrects them before they affect customers. A preventive service system aims at preventing negative service-related experience from customers and thereby sustains their positive customer satisfaction.

Customer Complaints: Customers address their complaints about service outages and failures to the customer service department of their service provider via a call center or over the Internet. One should distinguish between justified customer complaints and other types of customer requests, just as queries.

Service Quality Gap Model: A model, constructed by Parasuraman et al. (1985) , that describes the major gaps between the actions of organizations seeking to fulfill expectations of their customers and ways in which customers experience the provided services.

Quality of Service (QoS): The level of quality of services provided to the client determined by a set of quantitative indicators, such as service availability (service uptime). This measure is often operated over time in service control processes to identify changes in the quality of delivered services.

System Architecture: The structure and the logic of an information system that defines the aspects of its design, construction and maintenance. The architecture of preventive service systems aims at automatic and ongoing detection of potential service malfunctions before customers experience them.

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