These days, service providers do not just provide service. They want to also create value by building ongoing service relationships with their customers and consumers. Now when we compare service relationships with other types of human relationships such as intimate ones, they can come with challenges and difficulties dues to them being complicated.
A service relationship is a cooperation between the service provider and a service consumer that includes service provision, service consumption and service relationship management. This is a fairly straightforward concept. When two organizations want to work together, they have a relationship that's formed. For example, one of these organizations might assume the role of the service provider and the other becomes the consumer. Just like the students of online learning platforms. The training platform provides the courses while the students are the ones using the videos and materials to learn what they intend to learn. But before going ahead to more complicated things, let us look first at service provision.
Service provision is the activities that are performed by an organization to provide the services. This includes things like managing the service provider's resources, configuring them to deliver the service, providing access to the resources to the users and fulfilling the agreed upon service actions, as well as conducting service level management and even performing continual improvement to their services. Service provision can even include supplying goods to the consumer as well.
An example of this can be seen when you go out to get cellphone service. You usually go into one of their sales channels, such as a store, they give you a phone and a new number for use on their network and this serves as your account with them. And that is why it is called account provisioning. They can then assign different features, such as voicemail and text messages and a data plan and other things to your account. By the time they're done, you can walk out of the store with your new phone, your new phone number and working cellular service. That is the service provisioning done by your cellphone service provider.
With your new phone and new number, you can now start using their services by being a consumer. That leads us to service consumption. Service consumption includes all the activities performed by an organization or even a single person in the case of you and your new phone, allowing the consumption of services. Service consumption includes things like the management of the consumer's resources that are needed to use the service, such as you paying your bill every month to make sure the service stays working, and other actions you perform to utilize the provider's resources, like checking your email or making phone calls on your new smartphone. Service consumption can even be requesting other new service actions to be fulfilled. Let letting your service provider enable data roaming on your phone when you need to use data while travelling to another country. So anytime the consumer is doing something, this is called service consumption.
But, other than service provisioning and service consumption, there are some other activities that are done together by the service provider and the service consumer. When they do these things together, they're trying to enable value co-creation to occur based upon the agreed and available service offerings. This is known as service relationship management. One example would be like having the consumer paying their bill on time, so their monthly subscription doesn't get canceled and the service doesn't get turned off. Another example would be when the service provider needs to ensure they're communicating with the consumer about possible network outages due to server upgrades. This back and forth communication is what we call service relationship management.