In the previous post “How To Define Levels of Service with the Community“, Ross shared about their experience in New Zealand. He continued explaining the importance of determining the customer and technical levels of service levels.
So when we first developed service levels, what we didn’t realize is that there’s sort of like two levels of service levels.
- There’s the customer ones, the ones that the customers care about and
- There’s the highly technical one.
For instance, the customer doesn’t want to know that there’s so many pounds per square inch pressure. They just want to know they’re turning on the tap, and it runs and they hop under the shower and they get a reasonable flow of water.
So the customer service level at that instance is, “I want a reasonable flow of water at a reasonable pressure.” Well that’s sort of a generic statement.
At the technical level, we’re just going to say, “Well we’re going to supply so many pounds per square inch of pressure at so much volume per customer line,” or something like that. So it’s a lot more technical measure.
And you could go on and check that by putting a pressure gauge on a service line into a house for checking into a tap or something like that.
Or you could express, “Oh I need to fill a 10-gallon bucket in so many seconds,” or whatever—however you want to express it.
What we didn’t realize when we first got into it was that you do have customer service levels.
The potability of water, you’ll have a whole heap of standards – EPA Standards and state and even local standards maybe around what is potable water.
The customer doesn’t actually care about that. They just want water that’s safe to drink.
At customer service level our water is safe to drink. But technically that means a whole lot of stuff that nobody really cares about apart from water professionals and regulators.
When you’re doing your service levels you ask, “Have I got the customer ones?” because they’re the ones you need to consult on.
Like typically we would have five to seven in New Zealand. Now we’ve had way more than that – with the customer ones. When you’ve had six cycles of setting and updating the service levels, then you get better every time.
So, those are the ones that you consult on and then the technical ones are the ones that are set often by permit, or by regulation, or by industry practice.
And those technical service levels are the ones you measure internally that tell you that you’re meeting the customer service level then you link them up and away you go.