December 16th, 2016 was a blur. I’d just landed back in the country from a holiday and had to rush to meet my team to celebrate at the Beyond Recruitment’s end-of-year awards ceremony. I was extremely surprised to be awarded the prestigious Service Excellence Award by our Executive Leadership team. I think I fumbled my way through a speech and hoped I thanked my team, but if I hadn’t been so jet-lagged, these are the thoughts I would have liked to have shared about achieving service excellence.
I’m a perfectionist, so I don’t like to start tasks without knowing that I can execute them well. I never like to turn in a mediocre effort and I stay awake at night agonising if I’ve made a mistake, and strategising on resolutions and recovery. I don’t advocate this way of life necessarily and I’ve learned to temper this since having kids, but here are a few points that I know to be true.
The Basics of Service Excellence
Everyone is a customer. Everyone has an opinion and every interaction you have forms their perception of you and your capabilities. You have the opportunity to build your brand, improve your organisation’s reputation and build a lasting relationship every time you deliver a quality service.
Meet their expectations. Achieving service excellence is when you hit that sweet spot between your customer’s expectations and their perception of the service they’ve received.
Go above and beyond. You really have to understand your customer before you can surpass their expectations, so spending the time to find out their needs and concerns first, before taking any action, makes sense.
Take the right action for the right reasons. Service excellence is not the result of following a script or meeting minimum standards, but comes from people being empowered to take the next right action to create value for their customer and surpass expectations.
I pride myself on being a ‘safe pair of hands’, meaning that I have a reputation for being trustworthy, reliable, delivering what I say I will and genuinely caring about doing a great job at everything I am involved in. Obviously, the only way that a customer will come to this conclusion about me is through repeated successful delivery of a service and building the trust and relationship that comes along with this. A previous Manager told me that you would never FADE in a customers’ memory if you focus on the service delivery cycle, it’s a cheesy mnemonic but it works!
The Service Delivery Cycle can be summarised like this:
Find out what is important to the other person, their expectations and needs
Agree on what is to be delivered and when
Deliver what you promised on time, and take responsibility for any mistakes
Evaluate your service, ask for feedback and look for ways to improve
If you can complete this cycle successfully and successively, you have the foundation for long-term customer loyalty and a basis for service excellence. This base-line needs to be nurtured through ongoing training and coaching, and recognition in order to create an overall culture of service excellence throughout the organisation.
Creating a Culture of Service Excellence
Focus your training on creating a new paradigm for service excellence – employees need to understand what really matters to customers rather than working to standards or a script.
Reward and recognise employees for adding value and creating a better experience for customers rather than just meeting standards.
Make going ‘above and beyond’ the ultimate standard of great service performance – it’s what we do at Beyond Recruitment and what our internal recognition programme is named!
Well - that’s what I would have liked to have said in my speech back in December! Instead, I mumbled my ‘thank you’, gingerly placed my fabulous glass trophy on the table and hit the dance floor with my team – because I think if you’ve gained a reputation for service excellence, you should definitely celebrate your success.
If you want to explore how Beyond Recruitment can source great employees to help build your culture of service excellence, contact us today – we’d love to assist.