Friday, September 21, 2012

Providing Extraordinary Service

Our company mission is to provide an extraordinary customer experience, one family at a time.  This means that good service, or even great service is not good enough.   Once the word "extraordinary" is applied to all facets of our service, it changes everything and should change everyone working for a company.    To get there, continuous improvement is necessary.   All processes and practices should be subject to regular review and revision based on metrics to determine success.   This often makes employees feel uncomfortable because we are all creatures of habit.  Change is often also very painful, since people are naturally resistant to change. 

Employees must have well defined Performance Objectives to achieve extraordinary service.  Those objectives should be behavioral and for the most part quantitative.   In other words, the employee should be asked to achieve X as measured by Y.   Subjective, feel good objectives don't really achieve much in the work place and should be minimized both because they confuse people and because they serve little purpose.  Employees that don't measure up should be given an opportunity to improve and additional training to allow them to provide extraordinary service.   If at some point, it does not happen,  the particular employee is probably not right for the job. 

Management is critical to providing extraordinary service.   Weak managers cannot make it happen and should be invited to leave the company, one way or another.   "C" Players cannot provide extraordinary service.   It takes "A" Players to provide extraordinary service.   "B" Players are fine; but should be turned into "A" Players with more training.  Obviously, it is impossible to provide extraordinary service without extraordinary employees willing to go the extra mile. 

In addition, a company's supply chain must also be informed that extraordinary service is expected from them.   Clearly defined Metrics should be included in every supplier contract to describe the requirements necessary to achieve extraordinary service.   Regular meetings should take place to discuss performance and areas requiring improvement to achieve extraordinary service.  Never, never, settle for mediocre service from suppliers. 

Providing Extraordinary Service does not happen by accident.   It is very hard work and requires a never ending continuous improvement process related to all functions of a company.   The President/CEO of the company should be involved in this process by exhibiting a never satisfied attitude and always raising the bar.  Good or even great service is just not good enough. 

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