LTT Business Bulletin - July 2015
More from LTT
Colin Chodos, Managing Director of Corporate Connection Strategies
and leading LTT speaker, identifies “10 ideas to create service excellence
in your industry”
Creating ‘service excellence’ is as much a state of mind as it is a series of processes, procedures and behaviours. Using service excellence you can disrupt your industry and take your competitive advantage to another level.
Disruptors are innovators, but not all innovators are disruptors — Innovation and disruption are similar in that they are both makers and builders. Disruption uproots and changes how we think, behave, do business, learn and go about our day-to-day. Harvard Business School professor and disruption guru Clayton Christensen says that a disruption displaces an existing market, industry, or technology and produces something new and more efficient and worthwhile. It is at once destructive and creative1.
The following are insights we’ve learned and deployed from working with many organisations over the years that ensure creative disruption.
1. Ensure ‘service excellence’ is a strategic driver of success.
Service excellence in not part of a job description but rather ‘Service Excellence’ is the job. If positioned as a strategic driver, service excellence underpins all job roles. Build service into the agreed and published business strategies, while also learn to say ‘no’ – as not all customers deliver an effective ROI. There are many examples where successful businesses ‘tier service deliverables’ to match customer segments, needs and also revenue or margin contribution.
2. Leaders of the business must champion and model service excellence at all times.
Use KPI’s to measure leadership and management performance directly related to service deliverables. Celebrate living your brand promise at every ‘moment of truth’. A practical example can be a demonstration by Managers of how quickly they respond to internal requests or how professionally they perform. Senior people are always ‘on show’ modelling expected service behaviour. “The behaviour we tolerate is the culture we accept.”
3. Engage with your customers to uncover what they think they will need.
Use research and internal ‘listening posts’ to respond to what customers want and anticipate needs by creating ‘what if’ scenario planning with customers. It’s amazing what customers will share if we take time to really listen and closely observe!
4. Research who in your industry does it the best and build on borrowed ideas.
Closely monitoring competitors will yield ideas that you can capitalise on or refine, to add significant value to your customer’s experience.
5. View service from a technology driven perspective to find leapfrog ideas.
Technology driven service improvements abound if we are prepared to let go of ‘how we have always done things’. Meet regularly with tech geeks to brainstorm new ideas. Innovation is not limited to the product itself but needs to include service delivery processes as well.
6. Encourage innovation by ‘front-line’ team members.
Your ‘front-line’ people are dealing with your customer’s every day. The most innovative ideas can only be explored if we give people the permission to be creative. Reward and recognise innovative service thinking rather than just service performance as usual.
7. Create options for customer ‘self-service’.
Most customers want some sense of control over their interaction with suppliers. Find opportunities to transfer control … this decreases your service costs and can improve the overall service experience.
8. Use ‘process improvement’ tactics to constantly improve service levels.
Accepting the status quo leads to service apathy. Continually measure, report and set goals for improvement. Engender a ‘proactive sense of urgency’ to challenge existing and customer delivery expectations.
9. Use technology to build customer relationships.
Although we can reach more customers than ever before, the irony is that we are further and further away from ‘people’s hearts and minds’. Technology used wisely can help build relationships and customer loyalty. Segmenting user groups with tailored content and relevant service options has a positive impact on brand connectedness.
10. Recruit people with values that fit your service promise.
Hire for culture fit and train for skill! Develop a service team that understand the long term benefits of exceptional customer focus. Create a strong connection between employee capability, employee satisfaction and productivity with ‘value’ being delivered’, to ensure customer loyalty. This provides people with the understanding of the positive impact they can have on business performance, their opportunities and long term success.
It should come as no surprise that when all these elements above are working effectively, a bonus outcome is high employee engagement, which can mean less staff turnover, retaining critical IP within the business. This has a significant impact on ensuring service excellence and ongoing competitive advantage.
For more information on how to disrupt your sector and drive your business into a successful service driven culture, please contact Colin Chodos – Director Corporate Connection Strategies on 0418 446 204 for a no obligation discussion. References: 1 – Forbes on Leadership – ‘Disruption vs Innovation – What’s the difference?’