The building blocks of service culture are activities most large organizations already do: vision, recruitment, orientation, communications, recognition, feedback and measurement systems, improvement processes, recovery strategies and benchmarking.
But few organizations align their activities in these areas to develop a unified and uplifting service culture. For example, an organization could capture the positive voice of the customer through solicited feedback channels, connect these compliments to staff rewards and recognition programs, involve the winners as mentors in new staff recruitment and orientation activities, and communicate this to all staff members through multiple channels. Building an uplifting service culture does not need to cost more money. A strong service culture tends to reduce costs as internal service continuously improves.
A misunderstood, often poorly harnessed building block is metrics. Many organizations accumulate mountains of data to track sales, productivity and service performance. Such legacy measures may be tied to incentivizing specific behavior, but is often disconnected from producing a positive customer experience.
For example, in many organizations customer satisfaction surveys have become entrenched and self-sustaining, generating reams of data without a corresponding volume of improving actions. In a more focused and stronger service culture, activities would be aligned to leverage and generate value from customer surveys.
A service improvement process would immediately acknowledge any customer’s negative feedback and trigger new actions to increase satisfaction. Recovery programs would kick into gear to ensure a bounce rather than a poor memory. Rewards and recognition programs would be linked to making successful improvements in customer experience, and internal communications would regularly feature success stories.Service Is Not a Soft Skill
Service is often mislabeled as a soft skill, and culture is inaccurately regarded as something imprecise or fuzzy. Not true. Building and reinforcing a strong service culture requires focused attention, sustained commitment and systematic action from the entire organization. Organizations can successfully engineer a service culture with an implementation roadmap that aligns leadership, education and building blocks to reinforce a shared service vision, mission and values.
US Airways’ primary goal is to provide reliable service, and to meet this goal each employee’s skill and attitude is critical.