So You Think You Can Delight Your Customers With Break Fix Service?

[This post touches on a few aspects of service theory and is therefore a little more academic than usual.]

I have, for a long time, supported the position that it is impossible to delight customers in a break-fix service setting, but to understand the reason for that, let’s first review the definition for delighting customers.

According to service theory, customer expectations for service quality span a range, called “zone of tolerance” (very good ppt presentation detailing the concept here). The low boundary of the zone is “adequate service”, or the minimum level the customer will accept, while the high boundary is “desired service”, the best level the customer can imagine. Now we all know that customers expectations for service are derived from their prior experiences, so even if we do a good job at delighting customers, our job will become increasingly difficult with time as expectations will rise in accordance with prior service experiences.

But wait, didn’t I say earlier that it is impossible to delight customers with break-fix service?

I did, and here’s the reason:

Some time ago I wrote a post discussing the ways customer support protects and expands customer value. You may recall the point made there, that break-fix service should be focused on restoring the product to delivering its expected value. Now, we can safely assume that for our customers desired service is having the product work flawlessly, then the inevitable conclusion is that delighting customers with break-fix service is not possible.

Do you try to delight your customers? Are you successful doing that? If so, I’d love to hear from you, and from everybody else as well.

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