Customer Support v Services? Understanding the difference to re-design organisations

by NIck Frank on September 28, 2010

In discussing organisational design for services, there is often a huge amount of debate and confusion around what exactly are services. Should an activity such as ‘start up support’, which is often included in the PO for the product be classified as a service?

A clear understanding of these definitions becomes essential as you consider the most appropriate organisational design for your business. For example should start up support be provided by manufacturing teams or the service organisation?  Is a technical call centre a part of operations or should it be in a separate services group?

One way of thinking of this and getting to the heart of the issue is to think of  Customer Support as being the activities to ‘Make the product work’.

Services are the activities that ’keep the product working’.

Being able to distinguish between Customer Support and Services and especially the grey area in between, helps develop clearer thinking as to the relative responsibilities within an organisation, and hence its design.

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