Part 3: How To Build a Service Culture

This is Part 3 in the Service Culture Series. To read the first two parts of this series, please see:

Part 1: Have you heard the one about the Deli, the Shoe Store and the Cloud Hosting Provider?

Part 2: How To Build a Service Culture

Now that you have your company values and mission in hand (or at least in mind), you are ready to start building a service culture.  The next steps come from Zingerman’s co-founder Ari Weinzweig’s book, “Guide to Giving Great Service”.

According to this book, here are the steps to building a service culture:

  1. Teach it
  2. Define it
  3. Live it
  4. Measure it
  5. Reward it

Now, there is a lot more than just those 10 words that goes into making the everlasting, self-propelling fly-wheel of an awesome service culture, but those are the simple basic steps.  Here at HOSTING we have followed these steps, and we are on the journey of building our very own service culture based on our values and our mission.

In December of 2012 ten people from HOSTING, including our CEO and COO, attended the pilot program of HOSTING’s WOW training — our own version of service culture training.  By the end of June 2013, over 95% of the company had gone through this two day workshop: 12-15 people at a time, 370 people in total.  Five HOSTers (that’s what we call ourselves) taught the workshop at every location – across 6 US-based data centers and associated offices. Most importantly, everyone went through it together – at roughly the same time.  Cross-functional classes with Ops, Sales, Execs, Marketing, Engineers. Everyone. Additionally, we have now taken several of our customers through WOW Training (alongside a number of HOSTers).

At HOSTING, in the coming weeks, we are going to pilot a WOW program for managers only, building more depth into the program within our company. We will also continue to take customers through our WOW workshop so that they can go back to their organizations and build their own service culture.

The reason I highlight having put our entire company through a two-day workshop ties back to the first vital step to building your service culture: “Teach it”.  At HOSTING we have started to teach it, and we quickly learned that when you start these steps, you never really stop.  You just start the next one and the next one until you are doing all five of them all of the time.

Which leads me to my next insight: building a service culture is something that is never complete.  It is a never-ending journey.  However the first step of taking any journey is simple: know where you are going to go – your Mission.  Know how you are going to get there – your Values.  Never compromise on Values, be willing to adjust your Mission, and just do it – take that first step.

To that end, if any HOSTING customer is interested in attending a future WOW workshop, please contact me for more info, and we will happily include you in any of our future training classes. You can learn, right alongside other customers and some HOSTers, about delivering great customer service.

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