At least 90% of today’s products are commodity products. With that in mind, the differentiator in your business today is in the “customer experience”. The experience is the result of your culture. You can’t force people on how to behave when you are not around, but a culture can inspire employees to perform well even when they are not being watched.
Companies spend hours and hours determining their strategic direction for the year, next 5 years, next 10 years; however culture is what really matters. Very few businesses talk much about how to form their culture or look for ways to create the culture they want. They believe it just happens – and it does, but probably not the culture you would like.
A culture is made up of language, behaviors, traditions, artifacts and folklore. To create a culture of service excellence, there is a language associated with great service, defined service standards, traditions of recognition, pins and symbols, and storytelling.
A culture of Service Excellence starts with the interview and selection process, reinforced through your orientation, recognition is given to reward service behaviors, measurement is used to target opportunities to improve, and employees are held accountable. These actions are detailed in my book Unleashing Excellence – The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service. This is a how-to book on the structure of systems and processes that are engrained into the fabric of the organization to create a culture of excellence.
Strategies come and go, but a strong culture will weather the test of time depending on the commitment of top leadership.