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  • Service Culture: a strong lever of Differentiation

    20 April, 2016

    By Academie du Service UK

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    Differentiation is what every company is looking for. It can create a competitive advantage.

    At Academie du Service, with our 12 years of experience in consultancy and training for more than 250 companies in all industries and 20 countries, we argue that Service Culture is a unique concept that makes the link between employee engagement and customer engagement.

    We believe in 5 key points in order to deliver a fabulous service culture. A company will be service oriented if and only if:

    1. Focus is on the human being not only the product
    2. 100% of satisfied customers is more important than zero mistakes
    3. Service relationships are based on making customer and employee feel valued
    4. The same attention is paid to customers and employees
    5. Autonomy and initiative are emphasized by giving more empowerment

    This belief drives a profound transformation in terms of management style, and needs a set of evidence to ensure that they don’t remain just ‘nice words’.

    For doubtful people, there are some results available showing that the impact on the business is largely positive. As an example, 2 points gained in employee commitment can bring 1 point more in terms of customer satisfaction (which has a direct impact on loyalty). Knowing that customer satisfaction has been a top priority for many companies, it is good news to hear that there is still a source for value if you address the employee experience and not only the customer experience.

    We can also show evidence from the projects that we conducted that positively impacts on employee turnover, increase of sales, customer satisfaction, decrease of complaints and of course overall turnover – these are easy to get once you focus on Service Culture. As said to us for the Cultures Services Magazine April release by one of the country CEO of Nespresso “The relationship with the employee is crucial because how good relations are between people who work together determines overall economic performance”.

    Service Culture relies upon the human factor a lot and this is what makes this concept complex and exciting at the same time.

    Customer satisfaction is everyone’s challenge. This is why we speak about Service Culture and not only employee engagement: the whole company is focused to the satisfaction of end customer and it is multidimensional (management, marketing, communication, sales, organization etc.)

    To succeed in developing Service Culture, we need Consideration Symmetry. That means that frontline staff is satisfied and happy to service customers, back office is committed to make things easier for them, and management staff embody the attention that customers and employees deserve.

    Before deciding on action plans, it is really important to assess the level and nature of Service Culture of an organization, in order to take into account the strengths of the current employee and the style that the company culture has used over the years, in the relationship with its customers.

    One of our tools to do it is the Service Culture Barometer, which is a unique combined survey measuring the perception of customers at the same time as the perception of employees. It shows results like, the gap between the how customers evaluate the quality of service in a company, compared to the perception of the same subject by employees. The result is, an average gap in the UK of 9% of employee overestimation. It helps being aware that in most cases, customers acknowledge the technical skills of employee rather than their ability to really personalize the interaction.  Also, that Consideration Symmetry is not spread on the field yet, since 27% of UK employees consider that their company don’t pay the same attention to their satisfaction compared to the customer’s satisfaction.

    Standards in service are changing very fast, so it is really important to assess and check that your company dedicates the right means to the criteria that are meaningful for customers AND for employees. So that everyone is engaged for success.

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