Engineering a Service Culture Transformation
How to Establish a Strong Service Culture and
Improve Service Quality Fast

By Jochen Wirtz & Ron Kaufman

Almost all companies want to provide great service. We know instinctively that being able to do so is the difference between success and mediocrity. We want to win our customers’ loyalty and we want our customers to say good things about us. If we can achieve these objectives, we will increase our market share, our shareholder value, and our share of community goodwill. So yes, there are powerful reasons for dramatically improving service. However, the traditional approaches to customer service improvement often do not work.

The typical response is to rewrite frontline employees’ scripts and conduct pilot projects. Those tactics may lead to incremental improvement, which is fine for a company whose customer service operation is functioning reasonably well. But if the operation is badly broken, or the company’s industry is being disrupted and customers suddenly have a wider array of choices, Jochen Wirtz and Ron Kaufman, Singapore-based researchers and consultants, recommend deeper cultural change.

On the basis of 25 years of work with global customer service operations, they suggest “The Four Rules for a Service Culture Transformation”. They are:

Rule #1: Don’t start with customer-facing employees. Instead, involve everyone, with a special focus on internal service providers.

Rule #2: Don’t start by training people on specific service skills, scripts and procedures. Instead, educate them first to a better understanding of what service excellence really means.

Rule #3: Don’t pilot the change. Instead, go big and go fast to build momentum for the new culture.

Rule #4: Don’t focus on traditional KPIs during the service transformation (such as satisfaction, NPS, operational measures, and sales). Instead, focus on leading “transformation indicators” (i.e., number of ideas generated and ideas implemented) to generate value-adding ideas and new service actions.

Download the white paper on “Engineering a Service Culture Transformation: How to build a service culture and improve service quality fast”. Learn now what you can do to improve service performance and build a stronger service culture.

About the Authors

Ron Kaufman, Uplifting Service founder and chairman, believes service to others is the essence of humanity. He has led service improvement and service culture development projects in companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and citizen-based programs. Ron is author of the New York Times bestseller Uplifting Service and 14 other books on service, business, and inspiration, with sales exceeding 500,000 copies.

Jochen Wirtz holds a Ph.D. in services marketing from the London Business School  and has worked in the field of services for over 25 years. He is professor of marketing  at the National University of Singapore (NUS), and an international fellow of the  Service Research Center at Karlstad University, Sweden. From 2003 to 2014, he was the founding director of the dual degree UCLA – NUS Executive MBA Program (ranked number 3 globally in the Financial Times 2015 EMBA rankings).

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