Chapter 3

Building a Client-Focused IT Culture

When you hear the term good service, what springs to mind? Dinner at a four-star restaurant? Flying first class? Staying at a luxury hotel? But when you think about what separates these elevated experiences from the more mundane (a rushed lunch at a diner, a middle seat on an overcrowded plane), it's not all about the imported food, the $10,000 mattress, or the extra elbow room. There's an essential ingredient that must be served alongside that free glass of champagne before you'll be satisfied, and that ingredient is called service.

But how do you define good service? At an abstract level, it's the sense that the people involved with the transaction are fully engaged with meeting the expectations you have regarding the experience they're providing. For example, the surroundings are clean and well-decorated, your needs are met promptly and courteously, you're treated with respect, and if you ask for something that's not within the usual range of offerings, the staff works to accommodate you the best it can.

Less abstractedly, it's the waiter who checks on your order even though he's not assigned to your table. It's the hotel receptionist who offers you food and beverage credits if the reservation system neglected to honor your request for a nonsmoking room. It can even be the retail clerk who looks you in the eye and asks—in a manner that suggests he truly cares about your response—whether you want to bring home your purchases in ...

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