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Next Practices in Business Service Management



Business Service Leadership: The Time is Now! [Part 1]
by Peter J. McGarahan

Business Service Leadership

What are they thinking?

I am sure that I am not the only one slightly discouraged by the current lack of leadership in America today. In my travels, I have had many discussions with business executives, IT support managers and customers on this topic. In most cases, the sense of frustration centers around leadership without vision, purpose, caring and the moral backbone to do what’s right for the customers they serve and the people they lead. It is evident in the recent headlines where major companies and government entities are making decisions and taking a course of action that leaves the rest of us saying, “What are they thinking?” I have to assume that the executives and government officials making these decisions are certainly capable, so why are we left with a feeling of amazement, disengagement and disappointment?

Every day leaders

In my many leadership positions and interaction with IT support professionals around the world, effective leadership comes down to one thing – people care when they know that you care! In recent Gallop Polls regarding the state of the US worker, it is shocking and disappointing to see how many people are truly disengaged in the workplace. In support organizations, the biggest differentiator between organizations that excel at service delivery, customer service and delivering business value and the ones that always struggle - is leadership.

Leaders who awake daily and approach responsibility with energy, passion, caring and intelligence will always make a difference in people’s lives.

These leaders never forget:

  1. Where they came from

  2. What it took to get where they are

  3. The important lessons they learned along the way

They are particularly resourceful and utilize trusted, experienced mentors for advice, direction and support. What’s even more interesting is the fact that these leaders, who are successful and happy, are humble! They never let their egos convince them that they are the smartest people in the room. In reality, they never let arrogance stand in the way of being a good listener and a continuous learner.

Service leadership

Business Service leadership is about doing the right thing for the right reasons and making fact-based decisions. It’s about challenging conventional wisdom and having the moral backbone to stand up for doing the right thing for the customers and the people that serve them. Business Service leadership is a servant role that looks at the business of IT service and support creatively and innovatively with a foundation based on industry best practices. They strongly believe delivering exceptional customer service is not difficult as long as you stand by the customer service principle of treating every customer like they were your only customer. They know that the difficult part of delivering consistent service is in meeting their customer’s expectations is ensuring that the rest of the organization doesn’t create barriers making them hard to do business with.

I challenge all service leaders to: set the bar high for your team, constantly measure and continuously improve and create a culture of encouragement and rewards for over and above performance.

I have broken down Business Service leadership into the following five areas:

1. Leadership

  • Create the service strategy and vision
  • Create a service culture
  • Set the example

2. Customer Advocacy

  • Be the voice of the customer
  • Listen, listen, listen
  • Always market, communicate and build lasting customer relationships

3. Business Service Management

  • Identifying and solving the business problem
  • Add business value - find ways to increase bottom-line profitability
  • Be relevant, adaptive, flexible and responsive to business priorities

4. Get It Done

  • Remove barriers for the front-line
  • Deliver quantifiable results
  • Hold your team accountable – practice total contact ownership

5. Ambassadors

  • Work well with other teams to deliver transparent, relevant IT / business services
  • Be EZ to do business with
  • Work with a sense of urgency and be passionate about what you d

Business Service leadership takes courage. It can guide your decisions and your day-to-day interaction with customers, team, peers and management. It’s time for a change in the way we lead and the time is now!

We need to reengage our team and our customers, giving them hope and purpose that their needs come before ours. They need to know and see that they are the central focus when decisions are made. Great leaders know that at the end of the day – their customers are the only reason they are in business and that their people are the business.

An Informal Gathering

teamI was at a Service and Support industry event recently and I had the opportunity to spend some great social networking time with some old friends and colleagues. I really enjoy the opportunity to share old war stories and learn what’s new in their lives and work experiences. As the conversation continued, I was able to reflect back on all the collective conversations we have had over the years and how this group truly embodied Business Service Leadership.

These service leaders shared:

  1. A passion for delivering quality customer service.

  2. An attention and understanding of the many intricate and interrelated details of service and support.

  3. Positive energy for creating a service culture by empowering individuals to work as teams.

I admire this group for many reasons. What I appreciate most about this group is that they all did the job. Their experience is first-hand. They only excelled after experimenting with calculated chances aimed at proving conventional wisdom wrong. In the end, they were right in their belief of Total Contact Ownership and investing in Level-1 that resulted in increased first contact resolution, customer satisfaction and lower resolution costs.

I am brought back to the conversation with the question: what does it take to be a Business Service Leader?

Stay tuned for Part 2!

































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