Complaining about bad service has become a national pastime, but has the complaining diminished our crisis? Not in the least. If we want our service landscape to change, we must band together to proactively transform the people, places, and processes that are driving us to distraction. If you or your organization do not consistently satisfy and surpass customer expectations, your clients will take their buying power elsewhere. It’s that simple. But by establishing service excellence as your top strategic and cultural priority, you will foster the strong relationships needed to win – and retain – loyal clients.
In How You Do… What You Do: Create Service Excellence That Wins Clients For Life Bob Livingston calls for a Service Revolution and arms business leaders, client service executives, and sales managers with specific strategies for creating the most service-centered and client-focused sales organization in any field of business. The book includes profiles and case studies of noted service companies, including Accenture, Federal Express, Four Seasons, Henry and Horne, ECRM, The Nielsen Company, and TBWA/Worldwide, and many more.
Livingston (who helped transform the culture of the 17,000-employee CROSSMARK Company) provides practical tools for transforming the approach to serving clients by strengthening “how you do what you do.” Readers can differentiate themselves from the competition by adopting his simple yet proven roadmap. His five steps to Service Excellence can be followed by an individual, team, or organization:
Develop Your Purpose
Purpose defines you. It is why you do what you do, and drives how you do what you do. Purposeful people and organizations establish expectations internally and externally so that their constituents clearly understand the look and feel of the desired end result.
Establish Your Values
Purpose and Values go hand-in-hand. Your Purpose defines who you want to be; your values will guide you toward becoming that which you desire. Attitudes, Behaviors, and Motives all impact Values.
Understand Client Needs
It is important to discern hard needs from soft needs. A hard need is satisfied by what you do, be it a product or service offering. A soft need is satisfied by how you do what you do – that is, the intangible and emotional connection to what you do. A solid grasp of this and the acknowledgement of their basic differences will be the catalyst for transformation.
Satisfy Those Needs
Where Purpose and Values intersect with Needs. This step brings to life the concept of how you do what you do – putting people first; creating memorable experiences for your clients; bringing them fresh and innovative concepts; customizing behaviors to situations; and the vital role listening and communicating play in satisfying client needs.
Create Service Action Plans
Written action plans that guide your behaviors and define the framework for how to operate successfully in your service relationships. Create one for everyone you serve – clients, customers, and colleagues. Action plans must be continuously updated and monitored based on your knowledge of changing client and marketplace needs, and their impact on service requirements.
Recommended Books on Service Excellence:
- Service Excellence
- Service Excellence
- Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service
- The Six Principles of Service Excellence: A Proven Strategy for Driving World-Class Employee Performance and Elevating the Customer Experience from Average to Extraordinary
- The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service
Bob Livingston formerly head of sales at Unilever’s The Lipton Company, is the founder and CEO of REL Communications, a consulting firm that moderates the Client Service Advisory boards. He also leads service-based cultural transformations within the companies with which he consults. His book, How You Do… What You Do: Create Service Excellence That Wins Clients For Life is available from McGraw Hill.