Implied Service Responsibilities

Implied Service ResponsibilitiesIn an overly simplistic world, say back in high school, if you bought a service you’d sit back and expect it to be done – without any input on your part. Like a massage, or being served dinner in a restaurant.

But that’s expecting the service provider to be pretty good at mind reading. Or that the service is so simplistic it can, should, and is only ever delivered in one way, and one way alone. And those services are very few.

You may want your salad after your main course, which is common in some parts of the world. Or, you may have pinched a nerve in the right side of your lower back that requires special attention.

When engaging a service, both sides have responsibilities to each other. The explicit ones are stated in service specifications and contract terms.

But contracts and specs don’t capture everything. Many buyer/provider expectations and wants are left out. Yet these implied responsibilities may have as much impact on the service engagement as the stated ones. They ultimately drive the value both the buyer and provider get out of the service engagement.

Buyers of Services

Buyers are responsible to their organizations to get the most from their spend. And that comes with greater engagement with their service provider.


Here are a few responsibilities that buyers may not see in service specs or contract language, but when carried out will go a long way to maximizing service ROI:

#1 Participate religiously in all performance review meetings

#2 Select only key performance metrics (KPIs, SLAs, etc.) – it’s the vital few, not the useful many that count

#3 Keep your service provider aware of your organization’s goals, strategic initiatives & challenges

#4 Define quality expectations explicitly in ways that both buyer & provider can jointly confirm

#5 Define communication protocols & escalations for service deviations – these are the one-off changes because the situation demanded

Providers of Services

Providers are responsible to their organizations to maximize the value of their relationship with buyers. Yes, that means profits. But it should also mean:

* More referrals
* Longer contracts
* Greater account stability
* Better understanding of that particular vertical market


Here are a few that providers can benefit from by delivering to buyers:

#1 Being proactive in everything

#2 Bringing innovations in technology, products, processes

#3 Continuously seeking & sharing cost reductions – this should improve profitability

#4 Communicating obstacles, problems & recommended solutions

#5 Candor in admitting failures & honestly correcting them

#6 Respecting & working appropriately within buyers’ culture

How are you dealing with implied service responsibilities?


Chris Arlen

President, Service Performance

Technorati: contract services, service contractors, service performance

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