What is Service Education?
By Ron Kaufman
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Service education leads to creative thinking and practical action.
This action produces new and greater service value.
What happens in effective service education?
1. A new understanding of service value
Service education shifts a person’s point of view and enables her
to truly see the world from the customer’s perspective. This is
achieved by applying fundamental service principles to observe
and appreciate the customer’s experience from an outside-in perspective.
Fundamental service principles apply to all service situations:
internal and external, and to all levels of leadership, management
and frontline service.
Unlike common “service training”, education does not prescribe only “What to do” in defined situations. Rather, education teaches service providers how to think about excellent service, how to listen to and understand concerns, how to apply fundamental principles and then respond most appropriately in any situation to create and deliver
2. Colleagues learn and apply a common service language
Most fields of human activity have well-developed and widely
accepted terms that practitioners use to coordinate and improve
their actions. The domain of service has no such common language.
The field suffers from weak clichés, poor distinctions and inaccurate common sense. “The customer is always right” is often wrong. “Go
the extra mile” is bad advice when someone wants precise fulfillment
of exactly what was promised. “Serve others the way you would like
to be served” is well-intentioned but misguided: good service is not
about you, it’s about what someone else prefers.
Effective service education breaks through this hazy thinking and
offers well-grounded service language to enable and connect service providers with customers, across departments and throughout
3. Personal behavior models beliefs
Service education shifts the attitude of service providers, forging
a more genuine understanding and connection with those they serve.
This “uplifting service mindset” is emotionally fulfilling for the customer and the service provider.
Successful education is observable in action when behavior models
new beliefs. Service providers create new value for others because
they are motivated to do so from within, and are inspired by the results:
not because they are being told, watched, required or externally rewarded.
4. Taking new and valuable actions
Learning builds new competence, new confidence and inspires
Well educated service providers enjoy applying the principles and practices they learn. The ideas they generate and the actions they
take is the test of effective education. The value these create for
others, and for the service providers, is the appropriate and accurate measure.
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