Measure the Leading Indicators of a Stronger Service Culture
By Ron Kaufman
Building a strong and sustainable service culture takes time. But leaders often want to know much earlier if their efforts and investments are working.
So what is the first thing you can measure to see if your service culture is getting stronger? Higher profits? No. Those show up only after you have provided better service. Higher customer satisfaction scores? No again. Those scores lag behind the service you deliver. Increase in customer compliments? That’s closer because compliments are usually given immediately after great service. But is there something you can measure even earlier to see if your culture of service improvement is improving?
Yes, there is. You can track the number of new ideas your service team generates, and then how many of those ideas are put in to action. In fact, focusing on traditional scores like satisfaction, loyalty, and sales will lead people to focus on the lagging effects, rather than the originating cause.
One company getting this right is NIIT Technologies in India. NIIT serves the Fortune 1000 with a variety of cost-saving services. But customers today want more savings; they also want value-adding advice and recommendations.
So NIIT created a bold service vision, “New Ideas, More Value”, to stimulate innovative thinking about service improvements for customers, and supported this vision with a company-wide cascade of service education, workshops, town halls, and communications.
NIIT then launched a contest called IGNITE and tracked the number of “New Ideas” submitted by each department. Tapping into an appetite for competition, employees quickly generated more than 2,000 ideas to improve service inside and outside the organization. This avalanche of creativity was followed by a second contest to measure “Number of New Ideas Implemented”, which led each department to identify the ideas with greatest potential. Finally, a third contest was launched to measure “Value Created for Customers”.
At a company-wide awards ceremony the CEO said proudly, “These value-creating initiatives helped us create stronger bonds between customers and our teams. Today, customers are more likely to select NIIT in good faith and without going through a multi-vendor selection process. In short these new ideas and initiatives have changed customer perception of our service in a very positive direction.”
Perceptions are not all that have improved in the past two years. Number of “New Idea” campaigns have increased by 400%, percentage of customer-facing projects have increased from 61% to 99%, while number of ideas implemented increased from 8% to 20%.
Want to create revolutionary service results where you work? Then keep your focus where results get started – creating new service ideas and taking new service actions. These are the proven first steps to a leap in customer value.
PS: I spoke about this approach on YouTube in a short piece called “Show Me the Money! Measuring ROI in Service Improvement“. Take a look!
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