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Bookends of Service

Posted by Philip Smith on 22 March 2018

Choices and consequences    

Peter Drucker describes a concept of service delivery which he calls "the bookends of service" where the first "bookend" is established at our first contact with a client. 

It would follow that the second "bookend" is placed at the conclusion of the supply of products or services. 

He relates an experience where a large organisation went to extreme lengths to provide amazing service and just as they reached the last part of the service delivery, ready to place the second "bookend" they screwed it up completely. This final act reduced the value of all the previous efforts.

Over the years I have always worked hard to reach the final delivery with the same degree of effort and focus as the first encounter.

It is however easy to overlook some detail that might "lift" the second "Bookend" long after it was placed or a transaction concluded.

It is the small detail overlooked by everybody involved in the process of delivery or production. In the example below the incremental cost of doing it right the first time would be pennies, yet it provides an ongoing source of irritation. 

I have two small garden sheds on my property and I walk past at least one of them each day. My eyes are invariably drawn to the offending parts, thus providing constant reinforcement of dissatisfaction and as Kate Zabirskie says "Although your customers won't love you if you give bad service, your competitors will."  

Shed # 1 is constructed out of galvanised metal and one would assume that it would last many years without any real effort. Its not as if the shed can move or will be impacted by anything other than the weather. 

Somewhere in the design or quality control two items were missed. The hinges and door closing mechanism are galvanised, or so it appeared, but one year after installation these are rusting.

Shed # 2 is constructed out of painted metal panels and at least, on this one, they got the hinges right but the same door closing mechanism is rusted.

In relation to the overall cost of materials, the cost difference between the stuff that rusts and the stuff that will not, would be insignificant.

For as long as companies focus on Cost instead of Value, the hinges will continue to rust and the rusted door slide might close the door to future business.




Philip SmithAuthor:Philip Smith
About: Philip specialises in getting projects and businesses that are not performing as well as expected, back on track.
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