Companies that deliver great service know why they deliver great service. They know what’s in for them long term, they know how it impacts revenues, and they know how it keeps customers coming back.
Employees who deliver great service also see the big picture. They know and understand what’s in it for them, the customer, the company, and their co-workers if they deliver great service. They understand that their actions today have consequences tomorrow.
Employees who fail to see the big picture, come to work at eight in the morning with the only thing on their mind is, when and where is lunch.
When I ask leaders of companies, “Why is it so important to deliver great service?” I get answers like, “It’s a good idea.” Or, “If we don’t the competition will.” This is seeing the small picture, they have no real idea why they should deliver great service and, as a result, they deliver poor service.
The companies that see the big picture answer the question in an entirely different way. They say things like, “We’re committed to keeping the customers we have,” or, “We want the customers to tell their friends about us,” or, “I want my customers to feel good about doing business with me.” These answers demonstrate a long-term thinking process.
This is not goal setting, although goal setting is important, this is different. This is the WHY behind the drive. That’s what big picture thinking does for you and your staff. It keeps you aligned. If you’re not happy with the level of service you and your company provide, part of the problem may be you haven’t taken the time to define what you mean by great service. You haven’t developed a strong enough WHY for your staff to align themselves with. You’re allowing them to show up for work at 9:00 in the morning with one thing on their mind, “When and where is lunch?”
Covey was right when he said we all need a mission statement. The problem was companies were writing their statement to be all things to all people. They were long and had many mini-missions in them. A mission statement is supposed to drive us, inspire us to greatness. Instead they became marketing pieces, they’re messages to the customer instead of a mission for the company.
The other problem with mission statements is they’re too damn long. Especially here in the US—have you ever read a mission statement that was two or three paragraphs long? How is that ever going to inspire or engage employees? If I stopped each of your employees and told them to recite your company mission statement or die, everybody would be dead.
Engaged employees require a commitment to a common goal. But mission statements have become marketing piece that are as long as a great American novel. It’s not about mission statements, it’s about, what I call, a statement of purpose. A short, to the point statement that you can remember on a moments’ notice and it rolls right off your tongue.
In Minneapolis there is a popular hotel and all the employees wear a button pinned to their lapel. It reads, WIT. WIT means, “Whatever It Takes,” as in, whatever it takes to make the customer happy. A friend of mine told me her statement of purpose was, “To lead an interesting life.” She does too, she’s a travel editor. Another friend of mine with a strong sports background says his is, “Leave it all on the field.” Simple, short, easy to remember statements that can inspire you to reach for your big picture.
Answer this question, “What’s the purpose for us being in business?” I ask this question in all of my workshops. Many of the common answers are, “To make money.” “To serve the customer.” Or, contribute to the community.” These are all good answers but are they really our purpose?
The purpose for us being in business is to create a customer. We are all here to create a customer. Making money, providing a service or contributing to the community doesn’t happen until someone creates a customer.
If your employees understand the purpose for being in business then they can write their own statement that drives them to the company statement. It’s the principle of alignment, we’re happiest and more engaged when we are aligned to a common goal.
Once you write your company statement or your departments’ statement, then your employees can write their personal statement.
Answer these questions to start writing your statement.
- What do I do?
- Who do I do it for?
- What do they need and want from me?
- How will it impact them when I give it to them?
From here you should be able to craft a statement of purpose. Keep it as short as possible, four sentences at the most.
Use these question for every role you have in your life—spouse, business owner. Teach these steps to your leaders and your staff—hell, teach them to your kids.
If you’re not getting the level of service you want from your staff, you have no one to blame but yourself. You haven’t painted a big enough, bright enough, clear enough picture for them. Big pictures make a clear, unifying objective. Is it an objective of yours to build strong teams throughout your company? Then you need to create a statement of purpose.