Most of the issues discussed in this chapter are as applicable to service organizations as they are to manufacturing. However, there are issues unique to services that pose special challenges for service design.
Most of us think we know what is needed to run a good service organization. After all, we encounter services almost every day, at banks, fast-food restaurants, doctor's offices, barber shops, grocery stores, and even the university. We have all experienced poor service quality and would gladly offer advice as to how we think it could be better. However, there are some very important features of services you may not have thought about. Let's see what they are.
In Chapter 1 we learned about two basic features that make service organizations different from manufacturing. These are the intangibility of the product produced and the high degree of customer contact. Next we briefly review these and see how they impact service design.
Intangible Product Service organizations produce an intangible product, which cannot be touched or seen. It cannot be stored in inventory for later use or traded in for another model. The service produced is experienced by the customer. The design of the service needs to specify exactly what the customer is supposed to experience. For example, it may be relaxation, comfort, and pampering, such as offered by Canyon Ranch Spa. It may be efficiency and speed, such as offered by FedEx. ...