What Is The Service-Profit Chain? Service-Profit Chain In A Nutshell

The service-profit chain was first proposed in a 1994 edition of Harvard Business Review by Leonard Schlesinger, W. Earl Sasser, and James L. Heskett. Three years later, the theory became the subject of a book authored by the same individuals entitled The Service Profit Chain – How Leading Companies Link Profit and Growth to Loyalty, Satisfaction and Value. The service-profit chain is a business management theory linking employee satisfaction to customer loyalty and profitability.

Understanding the service-profit chain

Many consider management, staff, customers, and other stakeholders to be the most important components of a marketing mix – and for good reason. The way a company communicates with its employees and provides a suitable workplace for them impacts those outside the organization and the relationships built. This notion was echoed by entrepreneur Richard Branson, who once suggested training people so well they could find employment elsewhere while treating them so well that they didn’t want to leave.

While the service-profit chain is a relatively simple concept, many businesses do not understand the impact of their internal functions and processes on customer interaction. To better synthesize this relationship, the chain itself is based on cause and effect and comprises various components. 

In the next section, we will take a look at these components in more detail.

The seven links of the service-profit chain

The service-profit chain consists of seven links that describe how internal processes impact customer loyalty:

  1. Employee support and enabling policies – at the start of the chain are employee rewards, incentives, programs, and policies that motivate performance and create a stronger culture.
  2. Employee satisfaction – with employees properly supported and motivated, satisfaction increases.
  3. Productive employees – satisfied employees are more likely to be productive employees. What’s more, productive employees tend to go above and beyond for the company and its customers.
  4. Service value – occupying the next link in the chain is service value, which argues productive and satisfied employees bring more value to the customer. This value may take the form of friendlier customer service or higher quality products, among many other things.
  5. Customer satisfaction – naturally, a customer who receives better service or a high-quality product is more satisfied in their dealings with the company.
  6. Customer loyalty – while satisfied customers are more likely to buy from a company multiple times, it’s important to note that the relationship between satisfaction and loyalty is not linear. Satisfaction exists on a scale, with low to moderate amounts unlikely to see the customer recommend a product to a friend or leave a positive review. At the other end of the scale, however, satisfaction becomes enthusiasm. It is this enthusiasm for a product or company that ultimately drives loyalty.
  7. Profit and revenue – at the end of the service-profit chain is profit and revenue, which increases as the number of loyal customers increases.

Key takeaways:

  • The service-profit chain is a business management theory linking employee satisfaction to customer loyalty and profitability. It was first proposed in 1994 by Leonard Schlesinger, W. Earl Sasser, and James L. Heskett.
  • The service-profit chain is a straightforward concept, but many businesses fail to recognize the relationship between their internal processes and interactions with customers.
  • The service-profit chain is based on seven links, with each link interacting with the rest of the chain through cause and effect. The seven links are employee support and enabling policies, employee satisfaction, productive employees, service value, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and profit and revenue.

Connected Frameworks

FourWeekMBA Business Model Framework

business model is a framework for finding a systematic way to unlock long-term value for an organization while delivering value to customers and capturing value through monetization strategies. A business model is a holistic framework to understand, design, and test your business assumptions in the marketplace.

VTDF Tech Business Model Framework

A tech business model is made of four main components: value model (value propositions, missionvision), technological model (R&D management), distribution model (sales and marketing organizational structure), and financial model (revenue modeling, cost structure, profitability and cash generation/management). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build a solid tech business model.

Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas is a framework proposed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur in Busines Model Generation enabling the design of business models through nine building blocks comprising: key partners, key activities, value propositions, customer relationships, customer segments, critical resources, channels, cost structure, and revenue streams.

Lean Startup Canvas

The lean startup canvas is an adaptation by Ash Maurya of the business model canvas by Alexander Osterwalder, which adds a layer that focuses on problems, solutions, key metrics, unfair advantage based, and a unique value proposition. Thus, starting from mastering the problem rather than the solution.

Blitzscaling Canvas

The Blitzscaling business model canvas is a model based on the concept of Blitzscaling, which is a particular process of massive growth under uncertainty, and that prioritizes speed over efficiency and focuses on market domination to create a first-scaler advantage in a scenario of uncertainty.

Business Model Wheel

business model wheel provides a structured approach to defining a business model. Each model wheel is broken down into three core components: offering, monetization, and sustainability. Each component in turn contributes to a total of eight areas that make up an ideal business model.

Business Model Innovation Framework

Business model innovation is about increasing the success of an organization with existing products and technologies by crafting a compelling value proposition able to propel a new business model to scale up customers and create a lasting competitive advantage. And it all starts by mastering the key customers.

3C Business Model Analysis

The 3C Analysis Business Model was developed by Japanese business strategist Kenichi Ohmae. A 3C Model is a marketing tool that focuses on customers, competitors, and the company. At the intersection of these three variables lies an effective marketing strategy to gain a potential competitive advantage and build a lasting company.

Main Free Guides:

$200 Off Library
No prize
Next time
$300 Off BMI Course
50% Off Flagship Book
No Prize
No luck today
Unlucky :(
No prize
Get your chance to win a prize!
I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy
Scroll to Top