• Assessing the value of process improvement by means of service imperfections and value-leaks: the case of a large scale municipality contact center

      Dedene, Guido (+); Warnar, Rick; Mercado, Cecilia; Peters, Edward; Viaene, Stijn (Service Science, 2015)
      In this paper a particular approach to value-assessment for information and communication technology (ICT)-based services is explored. The core of the paper is a large-scale case study that provides evidence of how proposed value mechanisms work in practice. The mechanisms that are described in this paper are grounded in bringing together different views on the definition of a service, in particular when dealing with administrative processes. The notion of a value-leak is introduced, as an indicator that points to services where the erosion of value can be reduced or stopped. Value-leaks go beyond process deficiencies, and in the case study it becomes clear how efficiency considerations, emotions, effectiveness, caring, hospitality, and so on play an important role in value-leaks. A key research question is the detection of potential value-leaks in services. In this paper, service science for ICT-based services follows the rigor of information science by introducing the notion of service imperfections. Next, two research propositions are put forward, expressing the relation between value-leaks and imperfections on the one hand, and value-leaks and non-normal form process models on the other hand. The case study provides a concrete project in the social ecosystem of a large-scale municipality. What emerged initially as a simple cost-cutting exercise resulted at the end in a redesigned customer contact handling process, whereby both the customers and the employees were satisfied, and realizing also the cost reductions in a creative way by investigating the value-leaks.