Creating a Service Culture
Most workers do not realize that everyone in the organization, from the CEO down, is in the service business and is responsible for helping create and maintain the service culture. This means that whether you world with external customers (people who contact you and pay for your products and services) or internal customers (people who work in other areas of the organization, and to whom you provide or get information and services to allow you to do your job) you are a service representative to others.
It does not matter whether your work for a large multi-national organization or a small business, the principle is the same; nor, does it matter if your title is Customer Service Representative or CEO. You are the “face” of the organization when interacting with others. By the way, this applies when you are standing in line in your uniform or with a company nametag on at a fast-food restaurant at lunchtime and someone asks a question or complains about a situation with your company. What you do and say next reflects on you as a person and as a representative of your organization. Depending on how you handle such situations, you can project a positive professional image or can come across as someone, or an organization, with whom the person does not want to patronize. If you forget this point, you potentially lose customers and revenue for your organization. That means fewer dollars for raises, benefits, training and upgraded equipment or supplies to do your job.
Exactly what is a service culture in an organization? The answer is that it is different for each organization. No two organizations operate in the same manner, have the same focus, or provide management that accomplishes the same results. Among other things, culture includes the values, beliefs, norms, rituals, and practices of a group or organization. Any policy, procedure, action, or inaction on the part of your organization contributes to the service culture. Other elements may be specific to your organization or industry.
As an employee, you may communicate the culture through your appearance, your interaction with customers, and your knowledge, skill, and attitude. The latter element is crucial in your success and that of your organization.
As a service provider, if you take a job just to have a paycheck without buying into the service culture and supporting the goals of the organization, both you and the organization will lose. Each person in an organization should strive to help build strong customer-provider relationships
For you to be successful in the service industry (or any other for that matter) you must take ownership of your roles and responsibilities and show commitment to doing the best you can every day that you go to work. Even further, you must project a positive attitude when you are not at work as well. All the time, your goal should not be to deliver the best customer service possible.
A big challenge to any organizational culture comes in the form of social media. Many people have become a victim to careless comments that they placed about their organization, supervisors or peers on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media site. Think about the number of times you have heard friends “bad mouth” their boss, organization, products, and services. Did their attitude toward their job inspire you to want to patronize their workplace or apply for a job there? If you were to take the same approach in sharing information about your organization or the people in it, there can be a negative effect on you and the organization. What you do or say around others in any environment sends a powerful message about you, your level of professionalism and your organization. If you cannot support your employer; quit and find a job where you can. To do less is being unfair to yourself and your organization.
The bottom line is that contributing to the service culture of your organization is the responsibility and everyone else who works there.
For more ideas on how to provide excellent customer service and help create a positive customer service culture, get a copy of Customer Service Skills for Success.