Your organization is going to get some sand in the gears, and when that happens, it’s your job to keep your people focused and enthusiastic. How do you do that? You find opportunities to educate. You recognize individual successes. You role model what needs to happen and then recognize when other people act as role models. You acknowledge service achievements.

Read on for six tips on how you can strengthen your team by keeping them motivated to provide uplifting service.

In this two-part blog series, I’ll provide tips on how you can strengthen your service team.

Here, in Part I, we’ll take a look at the steps you can take to make it easier for your employees to provide great service to your customers or clients.

We love receiving great customer service. That’s no surprise. But did you know that great service can actually elicit a physical reaction? A recent American Express Service Study found that 63 percent of its 1,620 respondents said they felt an increased heart rate when they just thought about great service. And for 53 percent of those studied, great service caused them to have the same cerebral response that results from feeling loved. The trick, of course, is developing a customer service team that has the skills to provide such an overwhelming reaction amongst your customers.

Indian telecommunications is one of the most commoditized, competitive, and chaotic markets in the world. Hundreds of stores sell identical phones and tablets. Price competition is intense. Customers are spoiled for choice. In this challenging market, one company consistently charges higher prices, but has also enjoyed sustained growth and profitability over decades. How can this

Who plays the most powerful role in a successful education implementation? The employees who are learning, the trainer who leads the class, or the manager of the employees?

Over 20 years ago two notable authors – John Newstrom and Mary Broad — published research that is still relevant today. Transfer Of Training: Action-packed Strategies To Ensure High Payoff From Training Investment

For leaders seeking to achieve large-scale service improvement with a powerful education program, this research is critical.

One of my clients launched a vigorous service improvement program to create greater value for external customers. Hundreds of classes were conducted for thousands of Service Champions around the world. The business objectives were clear: reclaim market share and rebuild a slipping reputation. Bounce back in recovery situations. Focus on external customer experience, not internal political issues. Demonstrate passion for existing customers. Go all-out to win new business.

But something unusual happened as the program rollout expanded. Rather than focusing on these identified external business targets, earning high internal course evaluations became the course leaders’ primary focus. Being rated highly as a very engaging course leader was viewed as great success. Scoring 9 out of 10 for leading a wonderful class became a cause for celebration. That’s a great score, but a very different bull’s-eye.

Customer success and better business results are why the program was originally conceived. High course leader scores are not the same as valuable business impact. Eventually this lack of alignment
became painfully apparent—the focus had drifted away from the early goals, and the entire program needed to refocus. Don’t let this drifting happen to you.

Learn how to increase the impact of your investment…

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.

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.)

The focus on process improvement has been one of the key strategies for business success over the past 40 years. Whether simple checklists or complex process maps, what started on the manufacturing floors is now seen in every industry. Quality, speed to market, cost savings, safety, and innovation are just a few outcomes that can be realized.

So where does service fit here? Looking at when and how we interact with internal colleagues or external customers is clearly a part of many business processes. But are we improving the customer’s experience with our processes (the Perception Points), or are we focused only on improving the process itself (the Process Points)?

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.