I've written about customer service visions a lot on this blog.
That's because it's the number one thing that companies need to consistently deliver outstanding customer service. My research into elite customer service organizations reveals that nearly all of these companies have one.
So, what the heck is it?
This post will give you a short primer on what it is, examples from leading companies, and tools you can use to create your own.
Defined: Customer Service Vision
Let's start with a basic definition.
A customer service vision is a statement that clearly defines the type of customer service employees are expected to provide.
In some companies, this is a standalone statement that's separate from other items like mission, vision, and values. In other companies, it's integrated into another statement.
Here are just a few things that can do double duty as a customer service vision:
- Corporate mission statement
- Corporate vision statement
- Corporate values
- Customer service philosophy
- Customer service standards
Here's a great example from REI where the customer service vision and the company's mission statement are the same thing:
We inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.
Good customer service visions have three hallmarks:
- The definition is simple and easily understood
- It describes the type of service we want to achieve for our customers
- It reflects both who we are now and who we aspire to be in the future
Take another look at the example from REI and you'll see how it fits the test. It's one clearly worded sentence. It implicitly focuses on customers. And, it's authentic because it represents who REI actually is today.
The reason a customer service vision like this is so essential is that it gives every employee, from the CEO to the frontlines, a clear guide to follow. I like to refer to it as a compass that points people in the right direction.
Without a compass, it's easy to get lost.
Examples from Great Companies
Here are just a few examples from companies that are well-known for their outstanding customer service.
The Ritz Carlton
We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.
The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.
Sell good merchandise at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like human beings and they will always come back for more.
Service. Loyalty. Honesty. Integrity.
Quality, Cleanliness, and Service
These examples are all a little different, but they all fit the three hallmarks of a strong customer service vision. Imagine working for any of these companies and you can see how easy it would be to learn the customer service vision.
Develop Your Own Customer Service Vision
A customer service vision is essential if you want your company to be great at service.
It can also work on a team level, if your span of control is a department and you don't think the rest of the organization is ready to get on board.
Here are a few tools that can help you: