The service sector is a large and growing part of our economy. But a lot of service businesses are managed according to old ideas imported from more traditional industries, says Ryan Buell, UPS Foundation Associate Professor of Service Management at Harvard Business School (HBS).
In today’s rapidly changing service sector, a new set of frameworks is required to build a robust and competitive service business, says Buell.
“Service jobs have a reputation for not being great jobs—and, in many cases, I think it’s a well-earned reputation. But it shouldn’t be that way,” says Buell. “Service is the business of people helping people, and when employees lack the capability, motivation, and license to perform, there’s no hope they’ll deliver excellent service to customers.
Buell is faculty chair of the Hbs Executive Education program, Achieving Breakthrough Service, which explores how service leaders can create distinctive and sustainable service organizations that “turn customers into raving fans and employees into dedicated stewards of the mission.”
The program is distinctive in developing a holistic curriculum that speaks to the challenges faced by modern service organizations, Buell says. Participants in the program learn the fundamentals of delivering breakthrough service through cases and interactive lectures, from HBS faculty members.
For instance, one case, developed by Buell, focuses on the way IDEO uses human-centered design thinking as systematic methodology to help create new products and services. The case explores this process through the example of Cineplanet, a leading movie cinema chain in Peru. The company hired IDEO to help them determine how to better align their operating model with the needs of its customers. “This case study may change the way you think about thinking,” says Buell.
The HBS program also includes workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions with faculty who are experts in their fields that help participants discover gaps in the design and execution of the service businesses they lead, and leave with roadmaps for how to transform and revitalize those businesses.
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Achieving Breakthrough Service draws upon the latest research and insights to equip senior managers with a new toolkit for leading and managing a professional services firm, customer service or sales team. As a participant in this program, you will work alongside some of Harvard Business School’s most renowned service management thought leaders. You will learn innovative methods for designing exceptional service offerings, creating a distinct and sustainable service model, and effectively managing employees and customers.