Defining Your Service Culture
By Jesse Boles Executive Director of Operations, FreemanGroup | April 03, 2011
When companies decide to institute a service culture, they usually do so out of a desire to achieve the same kind of success they see being achieved by other companies with strong, clearly defined service cultures. They recognize that in an increasingly global marketplace, having a well-defined service culture will make them more competitive and help them achieve their long-term objectives.
What companies don't always recognize right away is that, for better or worse, they already have a service culture. The challenges they will face as they go about instituting a service culture will have less to do with establishing a new culture, and more to do with changing their current culture into one that more strongly supports their company's strategic and financial goals.
To establish your desired service culture, you must first determine what you like and don't like about your current culture. By asking and answering five relatively simple questions, you can begin to expose the elements of your current service culture that are not working for you, uncover underlying issues which may need to be addressed, and better conceptualize your company's overall ambitions.
- What behaviors are preventing our organization from achieving its strategic goals?
- What/who is driving these behaviors?
- What required behaviors are missing from our organization?
- What incentives will motivate team members to demonstrate these behaviors?
- How do we need to think about ourselves and our jobs in order to succeed?
Throughout the development of your culture-based initiative, something to keep in mind is that any culture-related messages you send to your team should help create an environment that promotes open communication.
According to a recent article by Christine Campbell in Forbes, a survey by Accept Corporation and AIPMM found that "40% of companies aren't effective at sharing and collaborating on ideas," even though their customer service staffs work to fulfill their customers' needs every day, and are often keenly aware of what works and what doesn't. The survey also found that "less than 50% of product ideas come from customers, partners, or suppliers," and that "50% of new products fail."