Establishing a service culture at any organization is one of the most effective ways to boost client satisfaction, keep your employees happy, and create a healthy working environment that enables your teams to thrive.
But what is a service culture? For us, it means every activity is completed with the client in mind, regardless of whether they’re directly impacted by the task at hand. In a service culture, employees should put people first, prioritize quality, and always maintain a high level of integrity. But it’s also so much more. It’s a state of mind, a set of beliefs, and a core value for employees to rally around.
“Service cultures start with you, the executive, and trickle down to every aspect of the business.”
As a member of the C-suite, your own actions reflect the company culture and you must work to be the unifying agent. Good leaders know that poor client service costs money and inhibits growth. But great leaders truly understand the power of service cultures, and how they can positively impact client satisfaction, employee well-being, and the company’s bottom line.
Understand (really understand) your client’s objectives
This may sound basic, but it’s the foundation for a solid service culture. Show a genuine interest in finding out what’s important to your clients and mold your culture around it. There should be nothing stronger than the voice of your client. Know them deeply and apply their wants and needs into your strategic vision. Not only will this enhance the partnership with your current clients, but prospective clients will recognize the team’s unique ability to hone in on their business.
Be consistent in how the culture is communicated
Culture starts at the top of your organization. The actions and words set at the leadership table establish the tone for the entire organization. The C-suite should be communicating a consistent and clear message related to the service culture in all aspects of the business. Every employee should know the vision, believe it, and execute on it. Keep in mind that culture is constantly evolving, but remain consistent with your core mission and cultural values no matter the environment.
Train and develop your employees to execute on core values
It’s imperative for every person in your organization—from the mailroom to the boardroom—to feel included in the culture and be able to articulate how they add to it. You core values and service focus should be reflected in formal documents and communications, including the employee handbook. Once you establish these policies, train new associates to understand the standards and equip them with the resources to implement the service culture. This is especially important for recruiters so they can quickly and clearly recognize the core attributes in potential employee candidates.
Reward and recognize your employees
The benefits of positive reinforcement have long been studied. So recognize and reward employees who are embodying the values, and remind employees when they’re not. This goes for leadership too. If you aren’t walking the walk, your employees will notice.
Building and maintaining a successful, positive, and recognizable service culture is a challenge all executives face. Utilizing the steps outlined above will empower your team to embody the service culture and create positive experiences for your customers and employees. But leaders must understand that they must do more than just talk the talk. They must embody the core values of a service culture every day in order to make it stick.