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Service isn’t service if it’s only delivered selectively. Treating polite customers well isn’t good enough. Your team need to know how to translate your vision into reality – again and again.

It’s one thing to have clarity of what service means across the organization. But how do you ensure your colleagues who are working with customers deliver it consistently?

The first thing is to remind them of the vision for your organization. What does great service the organization, and why is it important. We covered this in Step 2Step 3 and Step 4. If you’re not clear on this, take a look at these articles before going any further.

The big picture should give your team context and motivation. Motivation could be:

  • ‘Satisfied customers buy more from us and spend more money. Which means bonuses for all of us.’ This is a ‘towards’ motivation.
  • ‘If we continue to lose customers because they are unhappy with our service, we’re toast.’This is an ‘away from’ motivation.

Both can be effective, but it’s usually better to have ore ‘towards’ motivators!

I was fortunate enough to dine at Michelin starred restaurant L’Ortolan recently. It was clear that everything was thought-through, practiced and honed. I suspect their big picture is around the retention of that Michelin Star, and no surprise that the service from the staff was exquisite, because their business depends on it. Even down to the waiters placing the plates on the table at exactly the same moment.

This big picture needs to be translated into practicalities for your team. They need to be clear on:

The structure for your service delivery:

  • What specific things they must get right in their day to day activities? A small example, but hotel staff might be told to always hold the door open for guests. Or call-centre staff might be told to always address callers by their name.
  • What are the procedures when things go wrong, or customers complain?

The mindset for service delivery:

  • This could include seeing the service through the customer’s eyes.
  • Clarity over the frame of mind you need to be in to deliver great service.
  • Advice and guidance on how to bounce back from a difficult interaction with a customer, and meet the next customer in the right mindset.

The skills for service delivery:

  • These will be a mixture of soft inter-personal skills, and the more technical skills relating to your business.

These will require practice. Starting off with the basic components, and honing until service becomes second nature, even under pressure.

Next up – Negotiate, but don’t give it away