Consumer demands are continuously shifting from products to services. This means that customers have started valuing the experience a brand presents them with. The customer experience includes everything from initial engagement, to building awareness, the sales journey, service delivery, and any follow-up or ongoing engagement with the brand.
Creating a culture in which service excellence can be achieved in a sustained way can provide a competitive edge for businesses in a saturated market. To deliver dependable, consistent value, service excellence needs to be one of the driving forces at the heart of the organization. It cannot be achieved by tweaking one aspect of the customer experience.
Here’s how to create a culture of service excellence:
Lead with Service Excellence from the Top Down
A culture of service excellence starts at the top. Customer-centric behaviours that embrace the business’s values are best learned when they are first demonstrated by managers and leaders.
Service excellence is created when service at all levels of the company is accessible, friendly, and genuinely invested in the customer experience. Leaders can take active steps to display those same qualities towards their employees.
Breaking down barriers between leaders and teams can be a good step towards this. Leaders who are accessible and approachable foster an environment of open communication and care.
The human factor is critical. How happy and passionate are the employees about their job? How are their teamwork skills? Service employees thrive best when they have mastery autonomy and purpose. As such, leaders should know and value their expertise, challenges, and where there are opportunities for them to learn and grow.
Make Employee Engagement a Priority
Employee engagement directly affects the customer experience. Engaged employees bring the passion and care to their interactions that customers will remember.
Highly engaged teams also drive up to 21% greater profits in a business. More importantly, companies with engaged employees generally see 233% greater customer loyalty. This shows how important the satisfaction of an employee can be at influencing their service approach.
Enforce Service Excellence Values
Service excellence is a mind set and needs to be instilled in customer-facing teams. This can be achieved by actively integrating your brand’s values into the day-to-day.
You can list your service excellence values on posters around the office to visually remind your staff of what matters. But values are for living not laminating.
We use the award winning 31Practices approach for employees to co-create a set of practical day to day behaviours which explicitly reflect their organization’s values and then consciously practice them every day.
Involve employees in discussions and let their voices be heard about how the service experience might be improved. They are the people closest to your customers and often know what improvements can be made. Sharing these principles doesn’t have to fall to managers and leaders either. Encourage your employees to lead these discussions.
Feedback is a critical factor in driving employee engagement. 69% of employees claim they would work harder if they felt more appreciated and recognized. But beyond that, it is what allows you to establish a culture of service excellence.
The answer is simple. Reinforce good behaviours by recognizing and rewarding them. Provide additional guidance and training to those who do not encompass the right values or habits. Employees will appreciate continuous feedback. This way, you can actively drive change in the direction of excellent service.
Provide Values, Not Rules
Integrate values and brand objectives into your employees’ daily work lives. In turn, rules should start fading into the background. When you empower your team through training and feedback, you should be able to trust that will make the right decisions. This means you can empower your employees to deliver excellent service to the best of their ability. They shouldn’t be hindered or held back by a strict set of rules. Instead, allow your team to use their good judgment to treat customers as human beings and attend to their needs through their own empathy and care.
Create a Culture of Service Excellence to Gain a Competitive Edge
Gone are the days where a product alone will make your business stand out from the rest. It is time to prioritize value-driven and brand-aligned customer service to its fullest. To drive sustainable performance, your whole organization needs to build a Service Excellence Culture.
The steps above go a long way toward achieving this goal. However, continuous development and reinforcement are required to keep good habits alive.
SERVICEBRAND GLOBAL helps authentic service organizations achieve excellence. We align the pillars of brand identity, employee engagement, systems and processes and measurement and insight to support the customer experience. Develop a SERVICEBRAND strategy to deliver values-driven service for sustained performance at all levels of your business. Get in touch to hear more today!