How to craft a unique and powerful service vision
By Ron Kaufman
Your service vision should be unique and powerful. Customers should hear it and say, “Yes! This is who you are.” Employees should read it and say, “Yes! This is who we want to be.”
Organizations often have written statements declaring their commitment to superior service. While the intentions are good, many of these statements are not distinctive, motivating or clear.
A strong service vision is fundamental – it gives people a sense of purpose, value and meaning.
A strong service vision is inspiring – it arouses feelings of ambition, enthusiasm and commitment.
A strong service vision gives direction – it provides an unmistakable idea of what is sought, and what is not.
Here are 3 guidelines you should consider when crafting your Service Vision:
1. What turns your customers on?
- Identify which value dimensions really matter to your customers.
- Superlatives like great, unsurpassed and legendary may sound great, but they do not give your staff a clear idea of what kind of service your customers want.
- Avis Rent-a-Car’s service mission begins with: “To ensure a stress-free rental experience….” Avis knows that stress turns their customers OFF. Elimination of that stress becomes an anchor for the company’s service mission.
- The mission statement of Adia Personnel Services reads: “Adia will be known as the easiest personnel services company to do business with. We are committed to removing barriers between us and our customers…” Adia knows that ease of use is the customer’s highest priority. Its service mission statement makes that crystal clear.
2. What turns your employees on?
- Use words and phrases that direct, align and motivate your staff.
- You should not settle for anything flaccid like “We are committed to customer satisfaction.”
- Stake out a bolder claim. For instance, American Express wants nothing less than “To become the worlds’ most respected service brand.”
- Your service vision must be easily understood at all levels. For instance, Raffles Hotels aims to provide, “… many memorable experiences.” This is very straightforward and easy for all staff, from senior management to chamber maids and bellmen to understand.
- Your service vision statement should be easy to put into action. The mission at Tandy Corporation (owners of Radio Shack outlets) is “To demystify technology for the mass market.” It also goes on to say, “Our people are different because we get excited about helping people understand technology. We are about people helping people.” Employees at Radio Shack know exactly what is expected.
- Easy to understand does not mean easy to accomplish. One of the most productive mission statements in history was presented by President John F. Kennedy when he challenged NASA and the United States in May 1961 to “put a man on the moon and bring him back safely by the end of the decade.” Fully understanding the challenges ahead, President Kennedy added, “We choose to do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
3. Who is your service vision for?
Your service vision must speak clearly to a variety of audiences:
- Your employees – the words you choose must educate, motivate and inspire your staff. These are the people who bring your service vision to life.
- Your customers – your service vision statement should appeal to those you serve. It should tell them what style of service and level of commitment to expect.
- Your suppliers – your business partners must understand your service vision. Their service to you directly impacts what you can provide to others. Help them help you.
- Your shareholders – success is not just about rates of return and profits. Use service statements to engage shareholders emotionally and financially.
- Your community – the larger context for organizations is the community in which you operate.
- Your competitors – use your service vision to differentiate yourself from others in the industry. Let people know why and how you are unique and better.
An engaging service vision is one of The 12 Building Blocks of a Service Culture.
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