This short article provides a checklist of seven elements that the most successful service program contain. The more of these elements that a service program has, the more likely the program will generate higher revenue.Profitable service delivery systems include the following elements:
Services are consumer oriented. Staff have the authority to meet client needs or can refer clients elsewhere. Client pathways are clearly understood. Whether within the agency or outside, all staff working on a case interact with each other through email, teleconferencing, or meetings.
The design clearly describes outputs and outcomes. Special emphasis is given to demonstrating impacts at the conclusion of the program and at least six months or one year following discharge.
The program planning documents contain explicit assumptions and maintain a logical sequence of results (if certain conditions are met). This takes the form of a series of if A, then B events. For example, if clients were to attend a minimum of 10 substance abuse group sessions, and if they tested negatively for illicit drugs for 10 weeks, and they become gainfully employed in a job, then they qualify for less restrictive treatment.
The program is designed with a marketing perspective (with special emphasis on being responsive to consumer needs). That is, the emphasis is on providing outstanding consumer service, including meeting the clients’ total needs, where possible.
The program fits the larger organization’s mission. It is feasible and the projections based on available or potential resources.
The program has good feedback mechanisms in the form of focus groups, formal and informal surveys, and client complaint procedures.
The organization considers the needs of external markets including the needs of funders and public officials. Program Directors determine how best to balance the needs of the external markets with those of the clients.