The reasons that keep some organizations from being as successful as they could be with implementing a culture of Service Excellence include:

1. The effort feels like a program rather than a process. This reflects the idea management holds that this service business is one of finding the proper set of techniques to apply to the proper people. A “program” makes people believe that if they wait and go through the motions,it will soon be replaced by something else. This “process” is a cultural shift at all levels  and this is how business is going to be done from now on.

2. Lack of upper management buy-in and commitment. Upper management needs to not only talk the talk, but walk the talk. This means more than just one or two champions in the organization, but it should include all major players.

3. All efforts are aimed at the lower level of the organization. It is easy to identify this situation – try to find something that senior management has to do differently. Sometimes the perception is that all the training is for someone else: the tools are for lower levels; active listening, service mapping, everything speaks checklist, looking through the lens of the customer, etc. Senior management can change this quickly by showing and practicing their use of the tools.

3. The first Service Excellence Team burns out after about 18 months. As they transition to a new team (with a few holdovers) there should be a recognition ceremony by senior leadership for their efforts and a welcoming ceremony with senior leadership for the new team. It should be set up to be an honor to be asked to serve on the Team, not a punishment.

4. The Service Excellence Team chairperson should have regularly scheduled meetings with the CEO/President concerning the progress and obstacles encountered in the implementation of the process. It should be given as high a priority as the other key topics on senior management agendas.

5. Top management should include themselves in as many visible opportunities to give recognition for Service Excellence behaviors and to speak on the topic at all occasions.

6. Managers and supervisors will do what they are measured on and rewarded for. In order for them to use the techniques and tools in their departments, they must be EXPECTED to participate, give feedback and input, share ideas, and promote service excellence within their departments. Senior leadership must encourage and ASK about what they are doing in their departments in this regards.

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