Craft vs. Service –> technician or an artisan of your craft?

Craft versus Service has been a debate and conversation internally I have been exploring during the growth of my business. This is a big distinction in my mind as I think forward. In the service industry, we find ourselves trapped in a scaling cycle of trading time for money…how much work can we (ourselves and our organizations) spend working for billable hours. There are just only so much time in a day, week, month, and year.

So what is the distinction between a “craft” or “service” and how can we find distinction in our businesses. When I think of a service, I think of billable hours. Providing a service that brings value to another organization that warrants billing for that time. I love this definition on

“A service is the seeking and receipt of a specific outcome of a customer across a range of interactions and touchpoints over time.”

This article and definition above is exploring the pathways of services when it relates to the customer and the touchpoints/interactions along the way. I look at those toughpoints/interactions as billable time that the customer and the service provider share in an agreement.

So I think through ways to create greater revenue opportunities for service organizations:

1) Increase the billable rate for the touchpoint/interaction
2) Increase the different touchpoints/interactions
3) Increase the size of the organization

This is a time vs. money equation. This is where we can only spend our constrained time trying to squeeze in more hours to churn out more work. So, does this increased work load for small/entrepreneurial service organizations properly provide a service to our customers that is exceptional.

So let’s look at the craft concept.

A craft is a profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work.

I see “craft” as the happy place between “practitioner” of a skill and and the execution of a “technician. These individuals have mastered a skill as technician, can interpret the skill as a practitioner, and have created a crafted approach to delivering a service. This craft, this “art” has only tangible, marketable value via expertise, credibility, and valued results. These practitioners of a “craft” are artisans and have experienced an apprenticeship model perfecting their craft over time.

The craft approach to communication is one that has the ability to create culture and shift thinking. They are leaders in their discipline and take leadership roles in the projects they create. Their craft is not one of billable hours but of final product. Their business model is one of intellectual equity…one that brings expertise to the table.

So where do you find yourself or your organization in this intersection of the “craft” vs. “service” equation?