What Is Service Delivery in Business?

Updated March 10, 2023

When providing service delivery to clients, it's beneficial to give the highest quality possible while distinguishing yourself from the competition. By creating value and engaging with both customers and employees, you can create a service delivery culture that does both. This may help create a favorable brand image for your company and increase revenue. In this article, we discuss what service delivery is, explore why it's important and review six types of common service delivery industries.

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What is service delivery?

Service delivery is a business framework that supplies services from a provider to a client. It also includes the constant interaction between the two parties during the duration of the time in which the provider supplies the service and the customer purchases it. Essentially, a service delivery company provides something to a customer they can't create on their own. That service could be anything from a task to technology or information. It can fall into two broad categories of general reference for any service or more industry-specific models for technical service.

Service delivery processes typically aim to provide the client with increased value by setting standards, policies, principles and constraints to guide all aspects of their business and customer interactions. Sometimes service delivery may involve a third-party or outsourced supplier besides the provider and the client.

Related: Service Quality: Definition, Importance and Implementation

What are the 4 components of service delivery?

There are four logically sequenced steps or areas that companies use to provide the best customer experience through their service delivery. Focusing on these elements can give a broader understanding of the scope of service delivery:

1. Service culture

Service culture relates to the leadership principles, vision, mission, work habits and values of a service provider company. Management controls these items, which set a basis for operations throughout the entire organization. Maintenance and development of these elements can develop the social processes of an organization and help serve the long-term success of the company.

2. Employee engagement

Employee engagement focuses on those who work within an organization to provide service delivery. Human resources and other leadership supervisors can use their influence to shape employee attitudes, activities and purposes that align with the service culture of the organization. This serves as the link between the service delivery design process and the excellence model that the customer experiences.

3. Service quality

Service quality includes all strategies, performance management systems and processes involved in service delivery. These items help define the management model that helps the client reach their end goal within the service delivery process. This element is the foundation of the service provider and client partnership.

4. Customer service

Customer service focuses on providing the client with both the resources and knowledge they desire about their service delivery product. It includes items like account management, customer intelligence and continuous improvement. This phase uses a continuous review and collaboration process to understand how customers perceive the organization's service delivery and what you can do to make it better. This can work most effectively when the customer is part of the creation and delivery process.

Related: Guide to Customer Service

Why is service delivery important?

Service delivery is important because it helps provide people with amenities they want or need by linking them to an organization with the resources to provide those services. Companies can tailor service delivery to meet the specific needs of their customers through function or price. Engaging in thoughtful, customer-focused service delivery may also help distinguish an organization from its competitors by providing higher quality service.

What is the difference between service delivery and service management?

Service delivery focuses on service quality, such as if customers are getting the amenities they're paying for and if they're happy with the product. It is one of two components of service management, which is a larger process of its own. In contrast, service management is about how the provider company operates and how it can improve those methods and processes. While quality is one focus of service management, it's not the only focus. Service management also looks at things like daily operations and business expansion.

6 types of service delivery

There are a variety of industries that provide different types of service delivery that cover a range of products. Some of them include:

1. Information technology infrastructure library (ITIL) services

ITIL service providers focus on supplying customers with technological and communication resources such as cable, internet, mobile phone service, streaming services and other related hardware, software, systems or infrastructures. In this framework, providers define the services, roles and responsibilities of the company and its users to set quality expectations and availability benchmarks. ITIL companies may use tools like help desks, service catalogs, configuration management, databases and performance logs to provide service delivery and track its usefulness.

This type is one of the most common for a lot of provider organizations. For that reason, ITIL has its own set of standard delivery practices to use in corporate business around the country and around the world, including:

  • Service level management (SLM): Establishes goals for service delivery and makes them easy to measure and track the success

  • Financial management: Determines the cost of services and provides account support for customers

  • Capacity management (CM): Concerns the definition of services that a company can offer with a service level agreement (SLA)

  • Availability management: Ensures that a company provides the resources promised in the SLA as consistently as possible by monitoring things like unexpected service disruptions

  • Continuity management: Takes availability management to a greater planning phase by making contingency preparations for potential service disruptions caused by things like natural disasters

Related: ITSM: What Is IT Service Management and How Does It Work?

2. Local services

States, cities and municipalities often offer multiple types of service delivery for residents and business owners within their districts. These options could include things like healthcare, education, regulation of administrative proceedings, garbage collection or other related amenities. With local service delivery, the provider is the government organization, and the client is its citizens or business owners. In this instance, the customers seek data from or provide data to the provider to handle their personal or corporate duties.

3. Health services

Health service providers use service delivery to ensure that patients receive the medical treatment and supplies they need and those that they deserve under their specific coverage. In a health services situation, the patients are the customers and the medical professionals, health institutions and insurance companies are the providers.

Related: What Is a Healthcare Consultant? (And How To Become One)

4. Legal services

Legal service providers help businesses and individuals understand the terminology and processes of certain situations under local, state and federal law. In this type, customers or clients are those seeking legal advice or assistance and the providers are law firms or other organizations. Two of the most common types of legal service providers are law firms and alternative legal service providers (ALSP).

Attorneys typically own and direct law firms and focus on legal proceedings while anyone related to the law business can run an ALSP that focuses on functions or tasks. ALSPs may work on projects like document reviews, legal research and contract management. Law firms can give legal advice and represent people in court proceedings in addition to conducting many services provided by ALSPs.

5. Real estate services

Real estate services can include things like helping people look for a property to buy, finding purchasers for a property on the market, coordinating inspections and appraisals and working with legal service providers to create contracts. In this type, the customers are those buying or selling property and the providers are agents or organizations facilitating the sale.

6. Consulting services

Consulting service delivery can be a broad term for any consulting firm that offers a solution that an organization doesn't have the volume or knowledge of staff to complete internally. Consulting firms can specialize in almost any area of business, such as writing, content creation, human resources or finance.

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Tips for providing service delivery

Use these tips to help provide your clients with quality service delivery:

Communicate with customers

Keeping clients informed about their services and any important company updates can help increase customer satisfaction. The timeliness, context and identification of value can all help you communicate most effectively with clients so that they feel you're being transparent with them. Choosing which information is most important to customers and when to deliver that information can help shape your brand as helpful but not intrusive.

Set clear definitions

Because service delivery is part of greater service management, making sure both the provider and the client know exactly what to expect from their service offerings can make for more honest and authentic interactions and partnerships. You can define terms like features, eligibility, cost and customer support. This helps customers enter transparent agreements and team members understand the expectations of their working relationships with clients.

Use automation

There are steps within the service delivery process that you can automate to make it easier for team members to conduct the most important daily tasks. Automation can also be more convenient for customers who want a quick and simple answer. Some types of processes that may benefit from automation include frequently asked question response emails or confirmation messages.

Track your resources

Tracking your resources can help you find areas where you can anticipate future fluctuations in service demands and prepare for them. This may include monitoring employee schedules for things like staffing the help desk or providing more customer service options. Resources can fluctuate based on specific projects, sales or other related factors.

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