By necessity, service organizations seek to run their operations in the most cost-efficient way. The efficiency approach is borrowed from the mass-production model typical of assembly lines in the manufacturing sector. When management, logistics, and production aspects are made efficient, services become industrialized, standardized, and reliable. The other side of this story is that service experiences, different from mass-produced goods, are unique. There is an expectation from users that their interaction with service providers will be unique and somehow special, especially if they involve face-to-face interactions. Customized services are highly valued by customers, but they tend to come at a high cost for organizations. Standardization and customization are contradictory terms. The question for service organizations is therefore finding the right balance between standardization and customization in a way that their services meet customers’ expectations of reliability while also being personal and human.
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