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Sunday, August 30, 2009

I didn't get what I came for, so why am I so happy?

Can a service provide satisfaction if you don’t get what you were looking for when you engaged it?

Obviously, if you get something better or more than you expected, but what about if you get less?

Example: Can it be a successful trip to an urgent care clinic if you leave without fixing the health issue you came in with?

Mine from yesterday was. No wait, processing time was a very reasonable 5 minutes (waiting room time was why I put off the visit until my wife threatened guest-room banishment), I got to explain my symptoms to a very compassionate doctor who took in all information and asked a battery of follow-on questions that made me feel as though the discovery process was indeed working its magic.

But at the end of the visit, we still didn’t have a full diagnosis, hadn’t prescribed anything to make the condition better.

Still, I felt 1,000% better leaving than what I did arriving. Why? Because I understand (and it was explained to me) the process of taking tests, awaiting results, analyzing and using for treatment. The issue I had wasn’t fixed, but I understood what the service providers’ next steps were to be, what mine would be, and the process for successfully bringing, through multiple engagements, this service interaction to a successful close.

A single service encounter doesn’t always result in the satisfaction of the need that a person has when they engage it. Those that are more complex, (legal advice, and architect’s services, as examples) will often require multiple iterations before closing in on ultimate success.

Nevertheless, it makes sense as service process owners to understand the nature of the service we’re providing. When it is impossible to provide final resolution in a single encounter, reinforce the progress that was made in the current encounter, the process that leads to a successful result and everyone’s role (customer included) in creating eventual success.

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