Service excellence is so much more than merely pulling another rabbit out of another hat. It has to be the right rabbit, from the right hat. But wait there’s more….it’s equally important how you pull the rabbit out of the hat and when exactly you pull the rabbit out of the hat. Did you remember to smile when you pulled the rabbit out of the hat?
Service excellence starts with a service vision and a service strategy – a reference point. Every employee in the back-office and front office should know and understand your service vision: ‘Delighting and surprising the customer at the speed, effectiveness and professionalism at which we can “pull a rabbit out of a hat”.
Each person and organisational unit in the value chain needs to understand how he or she contributes towards this service vision – and they should be measured as such. Arrogant individuals believing they are too important to catch rabbits, apathetic employees that do not care if rabbits are available or not, inconsistent team performance that delivers a rabbit today and a rat tomorrow eventually only contributes towards closing the show. Without a strong sense of internal harmony in your own ranks, it is impossible to raise customer service levels and outperform the opposition.
Every system, process and procedure within the company should align with the service vision and strategy. Do we know the impact if the back-office supplies too few rabbits, or supply them late for the show? What happens when the ordering clerk requests additional emergency rabbits for an unscheduled show after the daily cut-off time? Do you simply cancel the show and hand your clients over to the competition on a silver tray, or do you have creative and innovative exception processes in place?
With increased competition and pressing economic conditions, it might be time to re-look your service supremacy:
- Review your service vision (and the role of service in your marketing strategy)
- Determine your “current state” – perform an objective external service audit and staff engagement survey
- Understand the landscape – research and analyse your customers, competitors, suppliers and systems
- Determine your “to be” – develop service superiority over your competitors and align all internal job descriptions, systems and processes with this future state
- Ensure your staff motivation and skills development supports the “to be”
- Continuously review and measure your service
Customer service cannot be touched, smelt, tasted, heard or seen – it’s merely an experience which could be positive even when everything else went wrong. In the worst circumstances, are you still able to delight and surprise your customer with an unforgettable experience as you, at the last minute, pull the unexpected rabbit out of the hat?
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends” – Walt Disney