[Excerpt] There is now good research to substantiate the idea that practices internal to the organization have important implications for service quality and customer satisfaction. Prior literature, especially the work on The Service Profit Chain by researchers at the Harvard Business School about large organizations and Len Berry’s On Great Service and Discovering the Soul of Service in smaller organizations, suggests that a key to service excellence is implementing a service strategy. Such a strategy would consist of having both explicit goals vis-à-vis customer delight and loyalty, and explicit processes that are in place to achieve those goals.
In this paper, we offer an organizing concept—namely alignment. In what follows, we first describe how we think about service and service delivery, and then how we think about alignment. Then we illustrate, through a case study of a small consumer bank known for its service excellence, how the components of an aligned service strategy look and feel to organizational members. It is this focus on how the service strategy looks and feels to organizational employees that yields our title: The human side of strategy. We then show how an outcome of the processes we describe is a very high level of organizational commitment. Finally, we conclude with some surprises and insights gained, as well as some practical implications for executives seeking to improve service quality.