The secret sauce behind a strong service culture (part 1)

Do you ever wonder why some organizations 'get it' when it comes to customer service and others don't? The organizations that consistently deliver outstanding service all have one thing in common - a strong service culture. There are many aspects that make up an organization's culture, but there's a secret sauce that brings it all together. 

This is the first of a three part series where I'll share the three main ingredients that make up the secret sauce. The first ingredient is clarity.

Work with no clarity
Several years ago, I worked with a credit union that was trying to improve its service.  They had just rolled out a set of five core values to their employees and hired me to determine how well the employees understood and lived these values.  My report turned up both good and bad news.  The good news was 97% of employees could name all five core values.  The bad news?  Nobody could agree upon what these values actually meant, including the credit union’s executives.

A lack of clarity makes it hard for employees at all levels to know what to do. If we can't describe what outstanding service looks like to our customers, how can we train our employees to deliver it, bake it into our policies and procedures, or hold people accountable for their performance?

Getting to clarity
An excellent example of providing clarity is the online retailer Zappos. They have become famous not only for their customer service, but their willingness to let the world peak inside their corporate culture. Check out the video below where Zappos describe their culture. (Email subscribers: check it out on their webpage.)