I just finished a conversation with a leader in a top rated US hospital about creating a Customer Service culture. We both marveled at the comments she had received from her organization recently suggesting that customer service is so simple, why would their organization even need to teach it?!
Is customer service simple? Maybe. Is it easy to achieve consistently in most organizations? Definitely not. Most of us can recall countless examples where we personally witnessed (or were victims of) horrendous customer service failures.
So what is the solution? The problem, at least partially, may stem from our solution-orientation. We actually think we can fix this, and it will stay fixed. Customer service, however, is a moving target and we need to be working at it regularly. The more intentional we are about keeping service in the forefront of our organization, the greater the chances of providing consistently excellent service.
That of course is true, if we also pay attention to what Dave Erdman, President of Vital Learning Corporation, refers to as “Service Quality Context (SQC).” By SQC, Dave is talking about the various functions, policies and processes that impact service. One example of what of SQC might refer to is hiring.
Consider your organization for just a moment. Is hiring done in a way that leaves a candidate who was not selected feeling positive about your organization, wanting to spread goodwill about you, even though they were not selected? Does your hiring procedure begin the acculturation process even before a candidate steps foot in your organization for the interview and continue throughout the process to enhance their comfort and integration in the first few weeks on the job?
As you can see, SQC can greatly impact customer service from dozens, perhaps hundreds of vantage points in your organization. So should we invest time, energy and money teaching customer service? Perhaps you'll need to consider the your organization's SQC health before you can answer that question. But, what ever the answer, providing excellent service consistently is still a worthy goal that will differentiate you in times of increasing competition from around the block and around the globe.