2006 Winter/Spring Volume No. 6
Our Service is Great…Most of the Time. How to Provide Great Service All of the Time.
Your commitment to quality service may be the most important part of your company’s success. Commitment to Service starts at the top of your organization and influences everything else your business does. For that reason, put your commitment in writing, talk about it with your team, and post it where everyone can see it.
Putting your commitment in writing
If your business doesn’t have a mission statement, this would be a good time to write one. Your mission statement may include one sentence about each part of The Big Six Review. See more about writing a Mission Statement on page 03.
The sentence that focuses on your Service Practices should be a clear, short message that everyone in your organization can remember and take to heart.
Here is an example of a very basic commitment:
Providing the sanitation needs of customers at work and wherever their guests and employees may need service.
That’s a clear description of what a portable sanitation company’s function is, however it says nothing about what is expected for the quality of service provided.
To improve the mission statement you may want to add “the vision” or “the values” of the company. In the simplest terms, the mission statement should spell out your organization’s purpose, values and direction. Here is an improvement:
Creating partnerships of trust with customers to provide sanitation services that not only meet the needs of their guests and employees, but impressES them with the cleanliness and attention to detail of our service. Can you always live up to such a promise? The point is, you and your employees can try. A wise man once said that if you reach for the stars, you may not touch one, but you won’t end up with a hand full of
While the dedication comes from the top, it must also be embraced by everyone who works for your company. If not, it is only lip service.
Brainstorming Customer Response
Once you have written your Commitment to Service, call a meeting of employees and examine your business to see if you are living up to it. Give each member of the group a written version of the statement and then read it out loud. Ask for comments, suggestions, or changes.
Then ask if they think the company always lives up to this statement. Where do you need to improve? Where are the service breakdown points likely to occur? How can you institute new procedures to prevent point-of-service breakdowns?
Here is an exercise that can help you find the answers to these questions and get all your people involved in the process: Ask everyone to imagine that they are eavesdropping on a gathering of customers who are all talking to each other and sharing stories about your company.
What does your group expect to hear? What kinds of comments would you like to hear? Have each person write comments both positive and negative on a sheet of paper.
Some positive examples might be:
“They’re really helpful,” “Their service is second to none in quality,” “They are quick to respond to emergency service or clean up situations.”
What negative comments do you hear? Employees may be reluctant to share negative feedback, however this is the most important kind. If you think this will be a problem with your group, assure them that there will be no retribution and that anything said in the meeting will stay there.
If you have actual complaints from customers, even complaints that were misunderstandings or mistakes, read them to the group and discuss how they could be avoided in the future.
Have everyone read what they’ve written, and write all the comments down on flip charts. No discussions, comments or evaluations at this point. You just want to fill the chart with comments both negative and positive.
Do you hear any basic values, themes, or common threads? What are the common positive comments? What are the common negative comments? Write these down on the flipchart.
Now ask your employees to imagine their customers talking about your competition. What are the positive aspects of your competition’s services? What are the negative traits your competition shares?
Does your company have more positives than the competition? Does your company share any of the same negatives?
Creating a customer-service-oriented company only works as well as all your people do. It is important to remember that everything starts from the top down. You cannot ask your employees to do anything different than you do yourself. Being a people- and service-oriented company always pays off. How? It serves as an inspiration and motivator for employees, and shows customers the kind of company you have.
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