Part 2: How To Build a Service Culture

If you missed Part 1 of the Building a Service Culture series,  please read: Have you heard the one about the Deli, the Shoe Store and the Cloud Hosting Provider?

Day 2, and we’re here to talk about what it takes to have a Service Culture. It boils down to 2 things. So here goes:

Step One: Know your values

Your company values HAVE TO, HAVE TO, HAVE TO be your guiding principles in everything you do.  If you don’t know your core values, you will not get far.   The first secret to establishing your core values is that they cannot come from your CEO.  The second secret to establishing your core values is that you already know what they are; they are the qualities and traits of your best people.   Figure out who your best people are – the people you want to build your business around –  and then figure out what values they share. Lastly, your values should support your business goals. It is that easy.

Once you know your values, then you have to fill every open nook and cranny of your business with people that have these same values.  And, equally as important, get rid of the people that do not share them.  You must internally state these values and you have to use them in every decision you make when it comes to people – hiring, firing, promotions, partners, and even customers.

The last secret to your values is once you have them, and you have surrounded yourself with people that also have them, you can never, never, never, ever compromise on them.  Re-read that last sentence.  It is the most important thing you will read in this blog, and possibly ever.

Step Two: Have a mission

While your values need to come from the shared collective of the people that you build your company with, the mission (or vision) needs to come from the top.  There are only three rules for having a great mission.   Rule one: keep it simple.  Rule two: be inspiring.

Zappos’ Mission is…

“To provide the best customer service possible.”

Zingerman’s Mission is…

“We share the Zingerman’s Experience
Selling food that makes you happy
Giving service that makes you smile
In passionate pursuit of our mission
Showing love and care in all our actions
To enrich as many lives as we possibly can.”

These are two very inspiring and simple missions.  Your mission tells people where you are going, and your values tell your people how they should get there.

Rule three of having a great mission is being willing to change it.  While you should never compromise on your values, your mission should be iterative and flexible.  For a company to survive and thrive, it needs to evolve.  Do not be scared to change the mission.  You should be asking yourself all the time, “Is this mission still relevant?  Is it still inspiring?  Is this where we want to go?”  If the answer is no to any of those questions, then change the mission.

Now you know what sets the stage for a great service culture. Tomorrow, I’ll discuss how to build that service culture.

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