During a cold winter season, smart organizations get busy preparing for spring.
One way to prepare is to create (or confirm) a clear and motivating vision of what you want to become. Back this vision up with customer service education and other measures and you can transform your business for the better. Your engaging service vision is one of the “12 Building Blocks for an Uplifting Service culture” we teach at UP! Your Service. This vision can serve as a guiding light for customer service education and to focus your efforts now and in the future.
1. Why do I need an engaging service vision to assist with customer service education?
An engaging service vision is fundamental. It gives people a sense of purpose, value and meaning. It provides a platform on which to build customer service education programs.
An engaging service vision is inspiring. It arouses feelings of ambition, enthusiasm and commitment that lasts well beyond customer service education.
An engaging service vision gives direction. It provides an unmistakable idea of what is sought, and what is not, delivering valuable customer service education in the process.
Many organizations have some statement of commitment to service. And most of these statements fall flat and do nothing to bolster customer service education.
An engaging service vision captivates attention. It is distinctive, motivating and clear. It is unique, and powerful, and yours.
Customers should hear your vision and say, Yes! That is who you are.
Staff members should read your vision and say, Yes! That is who we want to be.
2. Why should my service vision be different from others?
How do you want to be known? Why are you different from the competition? What makes you stand out from the crowd?
Promising “excellent service” is no longer enough to interest customers or staff. Excellence sounds good, but you intend to be excellent at what? A vision guides your actions, customer service education and can even mold your future.
Discover the style of service your customers value most, then craft an engaging service vision to address and fulfill their needs.
For example, excellent service in a hospital should be warm and caring, but that’s not what you want at a computer store or car wash. You need a unique vision to guide customer service education for your distinct business.
Some restaurants are known to be elegant and expensive, but that’s not what most customers want when the whole family goes out for dinner.
A leading Roads and Transport Authority promises “Smooth and Safe Transportation for All.”
Think smooth roads and railways, but also smooth licensing procedures. Think safe travel, but also safe handling of your personal details and data.
The Raffles Hotel has a mission statement that includes this vision: “…delighting patrons with many memorable experiences.” People go to Raffles for good times and great memories, and Raffles staff members are delighted to make them happen. The vision backs up customer service education for the unique environment.
Wipro, a world class IT services provider from India, who caters to both domestic and international markets, promises to be the “Proactive Value Adding Service Partner” of choice.
Their customers get new ideas from a company they can partner with for the future, not just a low cost vendor who only meets minimum specifications. This vision guides customer service education and inspire staff to perform.
Singapore Airlines has a tag line that sets an extraordinary standard: “Service even other airlines talk about.” Annual service awards praise those who go beyond the call of duty to make this tag line real. Customer service education programs back up the vision and help reinforce it.
Xerox Emirates promises to be “Much Better than Expected.” They are always coming up with new ways to surprise their customers and excite their staff.
The Japanese have twenty different words for “quality,” each with a different meaning: craftsmanship, design, durability, efficient use of materials, packaging, power consumption, presentation and more.
Your customers have as many different words and meanings for “excellent customer service”. Which ones are right for you?
3. What guidelines should I follow when writing an engaging service vision?
Create a mantra to motivate your team and incorporate it into everything from daily work life to customer service education. Your engaging service vision must be easy to remember and act upon, even in a crisis. Mantra means “a tool for thinking”. Make sure yours really works and incorporate it into your customer service education.
Align to the core values of your brand. The service vision of “UP Your Service! College” is: “A world where people are educated and inspired to excel in service, to customers and to one another.” This is consistent with our core values of Personal Responsibility, Continuous Improvement and Abundant Generosity (among others). Does your service vision match and magnify your values?
Align to your customers’ values. A budget airline says “We make flying fun!” Their customers want safe and inexpensive flights from point A to B. But they value an experience that doesn’t make air travel a chore, even on a low cost airline. By sharing jokes with passengers, being playful with each other and even singing songs, crew members add value for customers without raising costs. They make their own work lives more enjoyable, too.
Be clearly understood throughout the organization. An engaging service vision must make sense for those in the front office and the back office and at every level from top to bottom. Use clear and practical language, not theoretical and intellectual prose. Be sure to reinforce the organization’s vision through customer service education.
Easily translate into action. When you hear an engaging service vision, you know what it means and you can figure out what to do. If someone reads your vision and asks “What does that mean?”, then keep working. When they say “I get it. Let’s do it!”, then your vision is already in action.
Keep your vision up front. Put it on the wall and website. Put it in the wallet of every employee. Print it on your stationary. Pin it on your chest. Record it on your voice mail. Store it on your screen saver. Bring it up in every message, meeting and conversation. Use it in your customer service education.
Finally, make your vision a challenge. Meeting expectations and complying with specifications will not turn your people on. You need bolder language to drive them UP and onwards. Your vision should challenge and offer a lesson in customer service education on its own.
A teacher was told that a few of her students had exceptionally high intelligence. Naturally she expected them to excel. Although their IQ was in fact similar to other students, those few performed much better.
You are the teacher of your team and the principal of your future. What service performance do you want? What expectations do you require?
Make your service vision a challenge your team will deliver. Include your vision in your customer service education to help send the message home.
Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “UP! Your Service” books and founder of UP! Your Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit UpYourService.com.