In a competitive global market where products are commoditized and speed of delivery easily matched, quality service is a key differentiator in every industry – including engineering, manufacturing, production, logistics, IT, and more.
What if our measure of success was not just doing our job and getting things done, but working right through the person we are serving now to touch the very next person they meet?
Surely this is a bigger task than is written in your job description. And it’s not likely to be captured in your KPIs or your bonus plan. Then, if it’s not mandatory or measured, why put in this extra effort? Why should you care about the next person your customer or colleague sees, or says hello to, or serves? The answer to this question is simple: at some point, the next person down the line is YOU.
Unusual people and events have powerfully shaped my life, and the lessons I’ve learned from them are the roots of my unrelenting passion. My grandmother was my earliest inspiration. She taught kindergarten in New York City for 40 years, and when I visited her class, I felt like the most important person in the world. My grandmother made everyone feel like the most important person in the world.
Some of the building blocks used by nations for engineering an uplifting service culture:
Stay covered with great leadership. True service leadership is not a demand for better performance pointed at the frontline service department. It’s not a campaign slogan that gets splashed across the wall. True service leadership means creating an environment where every member of the team can take the lead in improving and uplifting—from the top down, from the bottom up, and from every position in the organization.
In a harsh global economy, great service is the price of admission. Companies whose cultures aren’t built around the ability and the willingness—no, the eagerness—to delight the customer won’t survive. You know this. And if you’re a leader at global enterprise, no doubt you’ve gained more than a few gray hairs worrying about it. It’s true: Transforming a culture that crosses many boundaries is no small task.
But I have a question that might put it all in perspective: If an entire nation can build a service-based brand and culture, what’s stopping YOU?
Guest Post by Tom Moran
Director, Customer and Partner Experience, Microsoft Operations
Microsoft Operations manages a huge portfolio ever-changing products, business units, customers, clients, and partners.
Here are few tactics that have brought good results as we work to Build an Uplifting Service Culture:
(Disclaimer – Microsoft is a client of UP! Your Service. The models and tools which Tom refers to in this post are taught in the UP! Your Service Courses.)
Don’t start only with customer-facing teams. Starting your service transformation with customer-facing team members might seem like the obvious move. But if your objective is to build an uplifting service culture, this approach can be very problematic. Because your people in “customer-facing” roles interact with customers daily, they already understand that service is important. They know that upset customers complain. They know happy customers are easier to serve. What they don’t know is how to fix the behind-the-scenes issues that often affect the customers’ perceptions.
Read the other tips for a fast and furious customer service revolution…
You know you’ve got unhappy customers so you’ve decided it’s time to do a complete service overhaul. You’ve spent hours with your C-level executives crafting a strategic plan and making sure your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed. The idea is to roll out the new plan in one area of your company—for example, your call center—and get things under control there before you move on to the next department. Over time, as you get your strategy perfected and everyone buys in, you’ll surely reap the benefits. Makes sense, right?
Sorry, but that’s no way to start a revolution…
When all the 12 Building Blocks are in place, you create an uplifting service culture where everyone is fully engaged, encouraging each other, improving the customer experience, making the company more successful, and contributing to the community at large.
You step off the plane, weary from a long flight. As you walk through the terminal, you can’t believe your eyes. The airport is immaculate with walkways as wide as roadways and not a speck of litter anywhere. As you move deeper into the terminal, you see a butterfly garden, an outdoor swimming pool, playground equipment, a four-story slide, napping rooms, spa treatments, and entertainment venues including movie theaters and video-gaming stations. Airport employees eagerly greet you with smiles and ask how they can help.
Have you stumbled upon some air traveler’s mirage? Is this an illusion in the familiar airport desert of grim décor, stressed out passengers, rude counter agents, and crowded gate areas? No, this oasis of pleasure is what things are really like at Changi Airport in Singapore—and it’s the perfect illustration of what service can (and should) look like in our global economy.