I recently received an email from Timothy Chan, Regional Fleet Acquisition and Retention Specialist at HappyFresh.
While I get a lot of similar emails, this one stood out for both his enthusiasm and the fact that my book had somehow made it all the way to Malaysia.
"Tim from Malaysia here. I work for an online grocery shopping company. I have just finished reading your book, The Service Culture Handbook, and I must say I enjoyed it immensely.
"I have just recently been put in charge of managing the customer service team at my company (after being transferred from the logistics department). Just last week I took your advice and held a meeting to decide on a customer service vision—it was a lot of fun and I am very happy with the vision my team ultimately decided upon. Now begins my more difficult task of really embedding the vision into our culture."
I was curious to learn more about how Chan and his team used the concepts from the book, so we corresponded via email and he graciously shared his story.
Q: Tell me a little about what your team does and the customers it serves.
"As Malaysia’s leading online grocery shopping company, our team is hard at work every day assisting and serving both our customers as well as our fleet of around 100 shoppers and deliverymen."
Q: What was the process to develop the customer service vision?
"I helped the team develop this vision by following the step-by-step guide provided in The Service Culture Handbook. Started by giving a presentation about Customer Service Vision which included a lot of stories from companies that have thrived by staying true to their visions (with particular emphasis on Zappos).
"The presentation was attended by representatives from the customer service and logistic team as well as the heads of Field Operations and HR. After the presentation, everyone was divided into 2 groups to draft their visions. By comparing the visions, we then decided on certain words that we felt simply could not be left out from the finalized vision and from these words our vision was born:
"Your professional, personal pal throughout our journey together."
Q: What does the vision mean to you?
"To me, the vision means that we should always strive to be a true friend—someone who truly cares and genuinely wants to help. However, we need to remember that we are also professionals and should always behave as such.
"The ‘journey’ part of the vision carries 2 meanings:
"Firstly, it is a reminder that we are on a never-ending journey of constantly striving to be as true to the vision as possible. Secondly, it reminds us that there are different parts to every journey (beginning, middle and end) and we should always act accordingly.
"What I love about the vision is that it can be applied equally well to the way we treat customers, our fleet of shoppers and drivers and also to the way we treat one another as colleagues."
Q: What are you doing to make sure everyone on your team knows the vision?
"I conduct regular 1 to 1 check-in sessions with each member of our small CS team. As we discuss how we can improve performance during these sessions, I try to refer to the vision as much as possible. Furthermore, one of our talented CS representatives, A.K., created stickers to stick on everyone’s laptops/desktops so that we can always clearly see our vision."
Q: What unexpected challenges or obstacles did you encounter throughout this process?
"It is not easy ingraining the vision into the psyche of a team. It takes a lot of effort to persistently champion the vision and to make other people start championing it as well. It is important to ‘walk the talk’, be willing to be vulnerable and be open to scrutiny."
Q: How has having a customer service vision been helpful?
"With so many KPIs, goals, frustrations and issues, having a customer service vision has been like having a guiding star to turn to whenever we felt unsure or overwhelmed."