Your Service Vision Has Got To Be ENGAGING! (Part One)
By Ron Kaufman
An Engaging Service Vision energizes everyone to focus and fulfill a powerful promise of service. A boring service vision puts people to sleep. An Engaging Service Vision wakes people up, turns people on, and poses a possibility that each team member can understand, embrace, and strive to achieve.
It doesn’t matter whether you call this phrase a service vision, mission, core value, guiding principle, credo, motto, slogan, saying, pledge, or tagline. What matters is that your Engaging Service Vision is engaging.
The Engaging Service Vision for Schreiber Foods Customer Service (an employee owned manufacturer of cheese and yogurt) is “Our World is Serving Yours”. This makes perfectly clear what they do and why they come to work every day. Nice!
When we started working with Nokia Siemens Networks, the executive board had recently approved a new marketing position: “Knowing How.” This promoted Nokia Siemens Networks’ well known and widely respected strengths for technical expertise. But the company was being challenged by Chinese competitors that didn’t necessarily know more, but were doing more for customers with large teams of lower-paid workers. “Knowing How” is important, but what really matters is doing something with your knowledge to help someone else.
The company’s global service leadership team convened in India under the guidance of Mr. Rajeev Suri, who would soon become CEO of the entire organization. “Knowing How” evolved to “Knowing How, Doing Now,” which was better, but still left something missing. What is the purpose of doing now? What is the intended result?
The air in the room was thick with focus and the frustration that often accompanies a vision-crafting effort. One of the leaders chuckled quietly and then smiled. Not known for hyperbole or exaggeration, he expressed solid confidence in the company when he said, “Know How, Act Now, Create Wow!”
This simple but powerful phrase became a guiding focus for more than 60,000 employees worldwide. “Know How” means know your customers, what they want, what they need, what you can do to help, and what your competitors are doing differently or better than you. “Act Now” means don’t wait, reach out, take action, and make things happen. “Create Wow” means surprise customers, delight colleagues, go beyond expectations, and create wow—right now.
An Engaging Service Vision is like a mantra to motivate your team and keep them focused on uplifting service. Sometimes the mantra will evolve. Marina Bay Sands opened its doors with a powerful internal statement to boost employee morale to the same soaring heights as the resort’s stunning 57th story SkyPark: “We are Magnificent!”
This engaging vision kept morale running high through the early challenges facing any new resort, especially one with such a high profile, complexity, and size. But as the team members adjusted to daily challenges, they also understood that being magnificent is not just a moment in time. It is an endless quest to deliver the experience of magnificence to every visitor and to every team member as well. The point is not to be magnificent, but to make sure that the experience of magnificence is enjoyed by others.
As Marina Bay Sands evolved, its vision evolved from “We are Magnificent” to “The Journey to Magnificence.” This Engaging Service Vision lives today in the actions of every team member and in the many uplifting service experiences they create.
Consider NTUC Income, in early stages of its cultural revolution, working hard to overcome years of civil service–styled mission, vision, and values statements. Members of the Executive Committee showed me a long list of proposed service standards that read more like a compliance manual than a guideline for delighting anyone. I read the list in their boardroom and sighed. “These statements feel so dead. You really need something more alive.”
The CEO heard what he had been listening for and jumped. “That’s it! When our team members come to work, we want them to feel alive. When we serve our customers at the counter and over the phone, we want them to feel alive. When our agents serve customers in the field, we want them both to feel alive. That’s our vision for the new style of NTUC Income’s service: ‘Service Alive!’”
Imagine going to work with the intention that every contact you have with someone else will leave him or her feeling more alive. So simple, so powerful, and so effective. Today, NTUC Income uses “Service Alive!” as an umbrella theme for many of its programs of service recruitment, orientation, communication, recognition, continuous improvement, and sales support.
An Engaging Service Vision should be inspiring, motivating, guiding, and uplifting for your service providers and for your customers. Is yours?
Questions for Service Providers
• Do you know your organization’s Engaging Service Vision? Can you share what it means in your own words?
• What actions can you take today to make your service vision come alive for your customers and your colleagues?
Questions for Service Leaders
• Do you have an Engaging Service Vision that stimulates the creativity and activates the service passion in your team?
• Are you enthusiastically sharing examples of your service vision in action with your employees, customers, and partners?
• How can you link your Service Vision to other culture building blocks: Service Recruitment, Service Orientation, Service Communications, and Service Recognition and Rewards?
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