Colleges and universities are beginning to recognize why having a culture of service excellence is so important, but don’t know how to design and implement it. This article gives an overview of the 7 Leadership Actions that if developed, communicated, executed and focused on the student’s experience will create and sustain a culture of service excellence.

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Step 1Communication and Awareness
All employees must have a common vision on what constitutes excellent service and its importance to the reputation, brand, and image of the college. It is important to establish the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) for employees to want to become engaged and involved.

Step 2 Recruitment
A consistent interview and selection process across the entire organization that identifies natural service-oriented employees.

Step 3Orientation and Training
It starts with the orientation of all new employees to ensure service excellence is incorporated and highlighted into the on-boarding process. It is reinforced throughout every aspect of future training sessions.

Step 4 Recognition and Celebration
Includes formal recognition programs as well as on-the-spot recognition opportunities. Reinforcement of excellent service behaviors keeps employees engaged.

Step 5 Management Accountability
Accountability mechanisms, both formal and informal, must include elements of service excellence. Job descriptions, performance appraisals, coaching and counseling to the service standards holds staff responsible to exhibit service excellence behaviors.

Step 6 – Measurement
Measuring elements that have a direct impact on student satisfaction; communicating and displaying the results to employees. Measurement of service within every work group builds a sense of ownership and where to take corrective action.

Step 7 – Service Obstacle System
A systematic approach to eliminate obstacles that get in the employee’s way of delivering excellent service.