SWIFT in Singapore: “What is Service?”

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Transcript of “What is Service?”, from a keynote speech by Ron Kaufman for the SWIFT Operational Forum Asia event in Singapore.

We are in The Financial Services Industry. All of your organizations, your businesses, you serve somebody. SWIFT is a membership organization that serves all of you. We all live and work in a world of service, which raises a very interesting question. What do we mean by that? Now, Laurent said the book was called Uplifting Services. No, it’s actually called Uplifting Service. What does it mean? That’s okay. No problem.

In other words, the services – we also want to provide those services with good service. But what does service mean? Now, of course, you should have a good definition. You’ve been in the industry for years. You’re a professional. You know how to give somebody a great experience. So, what is your definition of service? When I say go, you’re going to turn to your partner and you’re going to tell them your definition at the same time that they’re telling you theirs.

So, we’ll go like this. “Service is…” and you tell them. Now, why at the same time? Because I want you to speak and listen to see whether or not what you say to each other even sounds like the same thing. Ready? Take a deep breath. Turn to your partner and go. “Service is…”

How many of you found that you and your partner actually said to each other exactly the same words? Yeah, but that’s strange when one of you raises their hand and the other one goes, “No, no, no. Not really.” And you know what? Sometimes, people, even professionals in a services industry have very shallow definitions like, “Make the customer happy.” Yeah, but what if cybersecurity says, “No, no, no. We’re not supposed to do that for you.” Right?

Or “Give the customer whatever they want.” Bad idea sometimes. Or how about this? “Serve other people the way you would like to be served” which assumes that everybody else on the planet is just like you. Fortunately, they’re not. They’re like them, which means that service has got to be something that’s not about what we think… It’s for somebody else.

Now, when I came to Singapore 30 years ago, I realized that there wasn’t a really good solid definition of service that could be applied across the board. Internal Service as well as External Service, Senior Level Board of Director Service Frontline Call Center Service.

So, we worked on it and came up with a definition that goes like this. Please read it with me. Ready, go. “Service is taking action” Does that make sense? You got to do something for us to call it service.

Now, what you do – it maybe with a keyboard. It maybe over the phone. It could be a document, right? But you’ve got to take some… action. Now, what’s the purpose of the action? To do something that someone else will… want, need, appreciate, benefit from, hope for, pay for something that someone else will value.

Please read it with me again. Ready, go. “Service is taking action to create value for someone else.” Does this definition make sense? Does this sound like, “Actually, you know, that’s what we do every day”? Lots of times, people say what we do every day is we follow these procedures, we do this process, we meet this KPI, but what’s the purpose of all that?

Talk to your partner. Does this definition actually apply to the work that you do? Ready, go.

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Ron Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling author of “UPLIFTING SERVICE: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues and Everyone Else You Meet”, and is the founder of Uplifting Service.

Visit http://www.RonKaufman.com/demo to learn more about Ron, watch a keynote speech, and hear from his clients.

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