How to Turn Your Service Vision Into Reality

It’s all very well to say that you intend to compete and win in the marketplace by providing unmatched customer service, but exactly what does it mean?How can you make this vision more than merely an aspiration?What does it look like when your strategic intent is being successfully executed in the field?What behaviors do you witness? What customer feedback do you get? What service quality metrics are relevant?

The service strategy

Your service strategy is the call to action for how you intend to deliver the ultimate in serving customers; without a service strategy you won’t have the execution elements in place to see your vision become reality and you’ll be like many other organizations that want to dazzle their customers but fall short of the mark because they can’t execute.The service strategy is intended to breathe life into your service vision by specifying the exact deliverables you intend to deliver to customers and the results you expect. It is the promise, if you will, you intend to deliver to the marketplace that makes you unique in the crows of organizations all wanting to be the service Czar.Lack of a service strategy clouds the issue. People are not clear on how to behave, on the results expected and on the measurements that are relevant. Your service strategyshould reflect two components:

Core service

Core service is the basic good or service you produce, without which your business doesn’t exist. Core service is WHAT a person GETS when they do business with you.— In the financial business it’s an investment plan that protects the client’s assets and grows them according to their personal lifestyle goals;— In telecom, it’s a video channel that functions with no intermittent breaks in transmission;— In the air travel space it’s delivering passengers and their luggage safe and when they were promised;— For the movers of households, it’s delivering someone’s personal belongings to their destination on time, on budget without breaking anything.People expect your core service to be provided flawlessly every time they engage with you and they don’t give you plaudits when you do. For example, I’ve never heard anyone say “WOW! it’s absolutely amazing that you delivered my furniture from Toronto to Vancouver without anything being broken!”But the converse is also true. If an organization can’t deliver its core service consistently, they are criticized and the word is spread about how bad their service is.

The service experience

The second component of a service strategy is the experience they enjoy when they engage with you…. HOW they FEEL when they do business with you; how they FEEL when they are receiving your core service.— When buying online, is it easy to navigate the pages to find what you want? Is there a chat function that allows you to ask questions rather than have to browse the FAQ page?— When ordering internet service, how long do you have to wait before you get a call center rep?— Does your financial analyst make themselves available when you need to see them? Are they respectful of your needs and wants?Unlike core service, providing a delightful service experience gets you plaudits. People remember what you did for them and they tell others how great you are. AND they stay loyal for as long as the same service experience is created for them.Both core service and the service experience must be addressed in your service strategy. Here’s and example of a service strategy my team developed for a business organization I lead:“We are easy to do business with. We care.We provide and support innovative quality solutions.We make promises and always keep them. If we fall short of our strategy, RECOVERY will be our #1 priority”Core service elements are covered — solutions are provided (not products); promises are kept.The service experience is addressed — a caring attitude is expected; recovery is invoked when a mistake is made; systems and processes are created to make it easy for people to transact business.Once your service strategy has been articulated its a great idea to workshop it with all teams in the organization to define what each function must do to play their part.For example, what does the strategy mean to sales? In the above case, sales must focus on developing solutions for customers; flogging products is verboten. And relationship building skills are required with a caring attitude. Do the same for every part of the organization so that everyone is working together toward the common service goal.And build the performance expectations into everyone’s annual performance plan to ensure it’s given the priority it deserves.If you pay attention to these tactics you will see your service vision come to life!Related: The Pain That Sales Pushers Cause