Disconnects can easily occur across departments, and between levels in a large organization. For example, managers may focus on service metrics, benchmark scores and share of wallet, while frontline workers talk about today’s schedule, a colleague’s problem, or an angry customer’s remark. Excellent service in one office may mean something quite different in another. For example, new procedures may be introduced that improve control for one department, but make satisfying customers more difficult in another.
In these situations, confusion can easily arise about what the word “service” really means. And in the worst cases, otherwise motivated service providers will simply leave in frustration. These are a few of the challenges leaders face as they seek to build a strong culture of service. Fortunately, it is possible to engineer an uplifting service culture that addresses and resolves these concerns. Yes, an entire organization can be engaged to collaborate and aligned to deliver great internal and external service.
One vital building block of service culture in large organizations is creating an Engaging Service Vision. An Engaging Service Vision is a rallying cry, a focal point, an ongoing source of inspiration for all staff, at all levels, and in all locations. It is the shining light that guides the entire organization to grow in the same direction. It is a touchstone for choices and decisions about how to serve a client or colleague.
A second vital building block is developing and promoting a Common Service Language across the enterprise. This enables listening and understanding with a common set of terms, principles and distinctions about service. When we can evaluate and improve service with a Common Service Language, then the actions of one department, function, or country may differ from another, but your team’s understanding of the customer experience – and how to improve it – will be consistent.
Leading with an Engaging Service Vision and speaking with a Common Service Language are early steps in building a culture that focuses on continuous service improvement. These two building blocks provide leaders with the terms and tools they need to engage staff and remove barriers. These important building blocks should not be delegated away to only the marketing, communications or training departments. All leaders must walk the talk – and talk the talk. When leaders speak consistently, then team members listen and learn. When leaders speak in different tongues, team members are left to wonder.
What roadblocks to better service lurk inside your organization? What gets in your people’s way? What prevents them from taking better care of your customers? What stops them from helping colleagues? With a vision of what you want to become and a shared language to talk about service, your questions be discussed and new solutions created.