Turning service organizations into profit centers isn’t a new concept — Harvard Business Review and other management gurus have been calling for these sorts of innovations since the mid-1990s. It’s simply taken a while for it to take root in more hidebound, industrial sectors such as field service. And as Jodi Beuder, marketing manager at Impact Learning Systems, points out in Business2Community, building a “service profit chain” remains a top priority for many businesses today. Instead of focusing on profit and market share goals, successful service organizations are re-orienting around team development, increasing customer loyalty and other factors that drive long-term profitability.

What are the core links of a successful service profit chain? Beuder breaks it down:

1. High Quality Support Services

Companies must first invest in the support services teams that represent their organization. By investing in their employees with, for example, training and development and a positive workplace environment and culture, companies will see stronger employee retention and satisfaction rates.”

2. Satisfied, Loyal Employees

“Having happy employees at the helm of service departments and in the front lines of customer support ensures stronger brand representation—support staff are brand advocates and when they are happy and confident in their job and abilities, it shows. Especially to the customer!”

3. Value of Services Provided to Customers

“There is a reason this business model is analyzed as a chain: the first link leads into the second…but the chain doesn’t stop there! It continues with companies providing quality support to customers. Consistency in service is paramount to business success. Customers who recognize a brand that works hard to ensure their satisfaction are willing to pay more for that brand.”

4. Customer Satisfaction

“Businesses that target their support services to meet the customers’ needs on a consistent and progressive basis have greater success than businesses that focus on pricing and profit first…Companies that build relationships with their customers have a much higher customer satisfaction rate than those that don’t.”

5. Customer Loyalty

“Successful companies consider customers as more than just a notch on the scale of revenue. They say that customers are “apostles,” not just numbers. Loyal customers spread the word to friends and family members about the satisfaction they experienced with a company or brand.”

6. Profit and Growth

“Investing in employee success, customer-focused procedures and policies, customer satisfaction and loyalty—these are the steps companies should take to give them the results they set out to achieve in the first place. Writer Bret Simmons says it well when it comes to companies instilling the Service Profit Chain model: “Improved service is a result of a change in the system used to provide service, and the accompanying rewards for behaviors the new system is designed to encourage.”

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