Regardless of the industry, service should be the foundation of every organization. How you interact with your customers, clients, and other businesses defines who you are and what your company stands for. This truth isn’t merely relegated to the service industry. And for successful organizations, service doesn’t stop at the point of sale or business interactions; it permeates through the very fabric of their corporate cultures.
The fastest growing businesses embrace the values of service and community involvement and incorporate the two symbiotically into their culture among leaders and employees alike. According to Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report, 54% of all consumers globally say they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago. Moreover, a separate study found that 86% of leaders believe their employees expect them to provide opportunities for community engagement; and 87% believe they’re expected to support causes and issues that matter to those employees. Both values can be embraced by improving your culture of service.
Building Service Through Cultural Emersion
To truly improve a company’s service, leaders must understand that the value must be engrained in the company’s culture. Instead of something people in an organization “do,” it must be something they “are.” Outward service starts inwardly. In an organization, this means internally as a whole. For instance, if great customer service includes active listening, empathy, recognition, clear communication, etc., then these are qualities to practice between employees and leadership first. It’s unrealistic for an organization to give quality service to customers if leadership and employees top down aren’t providing these characteristics with one another.
As a leader, decide what you want your company to be and what you want the community to feel and experience when interacting with your product or service. Then, look for ways to implement or practice these with your teams. If kindness and respect are qualities you want to have on full display, create an internal culture where you promote these themes. Leaders will find that what is practiced internally will most likely flow naturally to external interactions.
Specific Actions to Take to Meet Your Service Goals
Once your organization decides what values you want to base your company on and begins practicing cultural emersion, it’s important to take specific steps to make the leap to next-level success. A few ways to do this are by following these three actions:
Align with organizations that share your company’s values.
Community involvement is a key aspect of creating a culture of service. Whether it is by aligning with non-profits that share your values or by simply teaming up with a community partner, look for needs your company can meet and find out what your involvement can be.
Help employees dedicate time to give back to the community.
Modern workers have put a major emphasis on not only their employer’s community involvement, but also the ability to volunteer and be given opportunities to do so. According to a study, 71% of employees say it’s “imperative or very important” to work at a company with a culture that supports giving and volunteer work. Successful companies can offer opportunities to serve through the non-profits they partner with, as well as give employees time off when feasible to serve in community organizations that fit their values.
Re-work the office perspective on working with clients/customers.
If service starts internally and permeates outwardly, it’s important to switch the team’s perspective and relationship it has with clients and customers. When working in an office setting, employees can become siloed and focused on the daily grind. So when a client calls or needs help problem solving, it can feel as though they’re an interruption to your day. Shift this mindset among your team members to the idea that the customer should always be a focus, regardless of an employee’s role or workload.
Improving Your Culture of Service
Regardless of your industry, great internal and external service is key to building relationships and creating meaning within the workplace. By focusing on company values internally, employees will be empowered to live out those values through interactions with co-workers and clients. And while volunteering in the community may not seem to directly impact company’s ROI, it does help solidify the company culture throughout its organization. Start simple and realize your goals of improving your culture of service.
How has an emphasis on service helped your company? What steps have you taken to improve your serve? Let us know in the comments section below!