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.
No one has a perfect record when it comes to delivering service. You will have unhappy customers, and you will receive complaints. With social networking, viral videos, and bad news traveling fast, one angry customer can leave a lasting stain on your reputation. Your recovery policy and practices should be ready.
1. Get senior management support. Unlike routine aspects of business, service recovery requires acknowledging mistakes and doing whatever it takes to recover. This often means going outside normal procedures, deliberately bending the rules, and possibly spending money in the process. Therefore, this building block needs understanding and encouragement from the top.
It’s true: no one ever hung a suggestion box hoping it would be ignored. But rarely will a mere suggestion box attract a healthy flow of good ideas.
Now imagine a staff suggestion program that captures attention with a different service challenge and a different form of recognition every month:
January: Submit your best ideas for welcoming our new customers. Winners celebrate with dinner for two at a fancy restaurant.
There is a time-tested maxim: what you think about expands in life, and what you focus on becomes clearer. What you see and say repeatedly will shape the way you live today and who you will become tomorrow.
You can apply this principle when recruiting new team members by following these four steps to hire the right talent for your service culture. Start by making it easy for candidates to consistently see, hear, and understand what your organization thinks about service.
Those who align with your vision and values will be drawn closer and want to learn more about your spirit and purpose. Those who think, feel, or believe differently won’t be attracted, and will naturally select themselves out. Both are positive outcomes for your culture and your future.
Traditional business benchmarking is a high-level activity with careful target selection, substantial pre-visit planning, and a rigorous process of post-visit evaluation and implementation. You can do this, too. But don’t let a thorough and detailed approach stop you from encouraging a much simpler version of benchmarking. Remember, one of the goals is for everyone to become curious about learning and improving.
Service Measures and Metrics are a valuable building block for service improvement. But to build a service culture, the methodology of these metrics must be uplifting for those you query and for the members of your team.
Clarify What You Are Measuring and Why
Just because you can measure many things doesn’t mean that it makes good sense to track them all. What do you really want to know, and what action will you take with what you learn? Review this list and then decide which insights will be most helpful to improve your service now.
If your company is going to pursue building an uplifting service culture, leadership must initiate and support the process. But service leadership must be extended and ultimately embraced at all levels of the organization. Let’s take a closer look at how to lead from all levels.
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.
For the past 40 years I have been on a mission to improve the world. The vision that motivates and sustains me is a world in which everyone is educated and inspired to excel in service to others.
In support of this mission, I have flown more than ten million miles, visited three hundred cities, and worked with businesses in every industry from high fashion to high technology, government agencies, schools, associations, and voluntary service organizations. I help people become better service providers, and help organizations build uplifting and self-sustaining service cultures.
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.