Service Excellence = Design X Culture.
In their influential book, Uncommon Service: How to Win Put by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business, authors Frances Fei and Anne Morris studied the key factors leaders used to build organizations that could consistently deliver a rare commodity: exceptional service.
They distilled their findings into one simple formula:
Service Excellence = Design X Culture
Strong processes, clear policies, the right metrics, and the best tools are all essential components of an organizational design that puts service first.
However, if your culture is weak – if you don’t have in place a foundation that guides your organization’s actions and behaviors, you are missing the most powerful tool at your disposal. As Fei and Morris put it: “culture doesn’t just tell you what to do—it shows you how to think.”
That’s not to say the creating a service organization that knows the right thing to do at exactly the right moment is easy. It’s hard, and getting harder with growing complexity of operating in an always-on, omni-channel world. A customer’s journey with a typical business now means navigating across multiple functions and fiefdoms. Many get lost without a proverbial Sherpa to guide the way.
Enter service design. It’s based on the humble idea that the experience a brand delivers to its customers can (and should) be the most important variable in delivering a differentiated product or service. When the customer is at the center of your processes and procedures, it should deliver value and reinforce your brand at every stage of the brand journey. The customer journey is designed with purpose and clarity.
Building a Service Culture
Once you have designed the experience you want to deliver, how do you “institutionalize” it as part of your corporate culture? Contact Center Analyst Donna Fluss lays out a helpful framework for how to review and modify current systems, processes of delivering support to customers:
Source: The Real-Time Contact Center
These operational building blocks will help you understand what’s happening inside your company. They will help you fine-tune and adjust what your employees are doing. But only a self-sustaining, customer-centric culture will change what how your employees think—and light the path to service excellence.