When I first read about Ron Kaufman’s workshop a few days ago, the words “Service Vision and how to articulate this vision...” caught my attention, and I immediately decided to attend the workshop without any second thoughts, as I was thinking of something very similar for my business at that moment. I felt this could be a perfect opportunity to learn more on servicing our many internal and external customers at inlingua. After attending the workshop on Friday, I felt it was worth the investment in time and effort. Meeting Ron for the first time, I saw what an amazing speaker he was, with tons of energy and passion. A man on a mission to uplift the quality of service standards worldwide. What I also liked was the way Ron made it highly interactive and at every opportunity helped us review the culture building activities at our organizations and inspired us to embrace a new and uplifting service culture. Even though it is difficult to capture in a few words, the numerous examples and case studies that he shared, just a few basic points shared here to serve as a future reference to myself and my service partners.
Service is when someone takes action to create something of value to someone else.
Service Excellence is taking the next step UP to create more value for someone else.
Service Excellence Culture exists when everyone in the organization puts this to work every day.
Six Levels of Customer Service
We first need to identify our current level of customer service and continuously look for ways to step UP the stairs. The stairs here is like a down escalator. If we do not try and step UP two steps at a time, we would go down the stairs, especially, since the competition is also looking for ways to raise their own standards. So look for ways to surprise your customers at some point of the service by offering them something that they value. For e.g., in a restaurant the food, ambience, service etc., could all be expected, however, if the music is really special then customers would come back.
How do we UP our service and build an uplifting service culture?
By involving Service Leadership at the top, integrating Service Culture throughout the organization and engaging in continuous Service Education as a fundamental necessity.
1. Service Leadership -
• Choose and declare service as top priority
• Be a great role model - walk the talk
• Build a service language - talk the talk
• Measure what really matters
• Enable and empower your team
• Remove the roadblocks to service
• Sustain focus and enthusiasm
2. Service Culture – The 12 building blocks of service culture are: Common service language, Engaging service vision, Service staff recruitment, New staff orientation, Service communications, Service recognition and rewards, Voice of the customer, Service measures and metrics, Service improvement process, Service recovery and guarantees, Service bench marking, Service role modeling. The entire organization needs to be aligned with a common service culture and the same needs to be implemented and integrated within the process by continuous education. More tips on –
3. Service Education –
1. Direction: Explaining in clear and real terms. For instance an IT specialist might just give what commands needs to be typed to fix a glitch.
2. Production: Resolving an issue quickly and efficiently, and not just directing the customer to fix it themselves.
3. Education: Being patient educators and teaching/tutoring the customers while helping them resolve something.
4. Motivation: Provide verbal responses that make customers feel right by saying “that is a good choice” etc.
5. Inspiration: Create a real person-to-person connection with your clients by caring about their well-being. This starts with a sincere, “How are you today?” and ends with, “Thank for you this opportunity to serve you.”
One of Ron’s favorite example is of Singapore Airlines. He often cites examples of how they consistently deliver exceedingly good customer service and how the staff take pride in being part of this airlines even though the pay isn't all that great. Their commitment to customer service, training and support to the staff, consistent internal and external communications, rewards and recognition programs make them the best and allows them to win frequent awards for the best service, besides being profitable since the very beginning. More on their success story could be found on http://oldwebsite.ronkaufman.com/articles/article.sia.html
Coming back home after the workshop, I tried to gather more on the customer service principles and found some very good information on the web. Apart from the links shared above, Ron’s website http://www.upyourservice.com is also very informative. He is certainly a man on a mission and loves to entertain his audience while at the same time educating them. Loved his animated presentation style. His unbelievable energy and passion towards service commitment also sets him apart. May he succeed in his mission in uplifting the service culture worldwide. After all, like he says, service is the currency that keeps the economy moving!