Building Block #1: A Common Service Language
By Ron Kaufman
The 12 Building Blocks of Service Culture offer a powerful diagnostic lens to assess, improve, and grow a stronger culture of service excellence inside your organization. These Building Blocks provide a framework for creating a culture that promotes superior service in all departments, at all levels, and continues to strengthen that culture over time.
We’ve developed these 12 Building Blocks after observing, learning, and creating change in hundreds of different organizations. Some organizations were already working in these key areas without seeing them as distinct, and many others have been taking action in very disjointed or haphazard ways. Our goal is to help you align your efforts in these twelve areas so that your organization can promote a stronger culture of service excellence and service leadership.
The first building block is developing a Common Service Language, which you can build with consistent and world-class service education.
But what does having a Common Service Language actually mean for an organization?
A Common Service Language aligns the organization’s vision with the actions and understanding of team members. It takes the theory of improving service and helps everyone put their ideas into daily practice, and daily conversation. It means you can ask anyone at any point, anywhere in an organization, “What is superior service?”, and you will hear a thoughtful and meaningful answer.
Each person will be able to provide a clear and collectively aligned set of statements about key service issues, including:
- I know what service excellence means and how to provide it.
- I understand how to generate more value for my customers and colleagues.
- I can easily identify different standards and levels of service.
- I can define key perception points in each of my service transactions.
- I can share examples of how our organization creates value within the customer experience.
You take a big risk if you do not cultivate a common service language throughout your organization. In place of a common language, you may well have teams who work only or primarily with their familiar “departmental” languages. With each organizational function referring to the same situation in different ways, there’s very little natural alignment or cohesion. You may think this is not a major issue, as it is contained internally in the organization.
But what about the customer’s experience? It’s not uncommon for a customer to interact with team members from several different departments and organizational functions. If everyone is using a different language – sales, delivery, finance, and repair, for example – then imagine the frustration a customer may experience, hearing their same situation spoken about with a different language each time they speak with someone new. That’s certainly not great service!
With a Common Service Language, team members across your entire organization can communicate about – and create – more powerful and delightful service experiences. Imagine how much easier that makes things for you team, and how much better for your customers.
A Common Service Language is Building Block #1 in building a superior and sustainable service culture.
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