The Third Alternative: Independent Service Can Possess Every Advantage

By: Charles Chappell, National Service Alliance

At this past ASTI conference, Dean Landers presented a very compelling case on the competitive advantages and disadvantages of both Independent and National Service. It is true National Service can leverage many of the bells and whistles Independent Service can’t. However, the motivation driving the Independent Servicer to provide service excellence is a factor the National Provider can never replicate.

Dean states:

National Service – “Stockholders demand the highest profit they can derive from the customer by driving productivity and processes to the maximum in order to make our numbers. Stock holders are our focus, not customers.”


Independent Service – “We care about our customers in and through every interaction and in everything we do, which breeds deep satisfaction and confidence!”

The orientation of National Service is transactional – maximize the service call – whereas the orientation of Independent Service is relational – focus on the Customer Experience in turn building long-term, personal relationships.

Before I continue, and in complete openness, I am biased. As a former Independent Service Provider, I learned many of these principles early in my service career. In fact, at my first service conference, I heard and grew to live the mantra: No one does it better than Independent Service.

That said, I will cede one great advantage National Service has over Independent Service: the Warranty Provider’s ability to purchase goods or services from one vendor or company. Then, when something goes wrong, there is only “one throat to choke.”

Not every Independent Service Provider desires to perform Warranty Service (and that’s fine). However, for those that do, how do we reconcile the distinct advantage of “one throat to choke” that National Service provides Manufacturers, Third Party Administrators and Retailers?


Famed Author and Businessman Stephen Covey talked about a “path that cuts through nearly all life’s dilemmas and divisions – a way forward; it’s not your way and it’s not my way.” He called it “The Third Alternative”.

Adapting Covey’s philosophy to the National Service vs. Independent Service matter, we learn it doesn’t have to be us against them – It can just be us. Thirteen years ago, a group of Independent Service Providers formed National Service Alliance offering “The Third Alternative.” The objective: combine the exclusive advantages Independent Service can provide with National Service’s “one throat to choke” model, thus removing the competitive advantage National Service held.

National Service Alliance brings Manufacturers, Third Party Administrators and Retailers under one umbrella simplifying the process for Independent Service Providers. By allowing National Service Alliance to manage these components, you can be a National Service entity while maintaining your Independent Service identity.

Today, as an Independent National Service company, National Service Alliance remains committed to the belief that Independent Service is the heart of our organization and nobody does it better than Independent Service.

For more information on National Service Alliance contact Charles Chappell,

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