5 Management Practices Needed for Flawless Service Delivery

The time has come for these ideas to be embraced and instituted across every business that wants to compete on service.

In the past, I’ve written other articles on the subject of strategy and competition. To summarize the messages from earlier articles, it is my belief that every business competes across only three main dimensions–product, price and service. Certainly, strategies to cover all three elements are essential for the ongoing growth and success of a business. That said, this piece focuses on service delivery.

Here are 5 management practices that are essential for competing on service:

1. Adopt an “Outside-In” Perspective: If you want to be exceptional at servicing clients, you need to walk in their shoes. By adopting an outside-in perspective on all of your customer dealings, you’ll begin to see your business (and how you’re treating them) through their eyes. By encouraging your team to practice the same, they will help you re-imagine the customer experience and redefine your service delivery approaches and policies.

2. Encourage an “In It Together” Attitude: Speaking of your service delivery team, you want to do all that you can to inspire teamwork and trust among those front-line personnel. After all they define the customer experience. Be sure to encourage a cooperative approach among them in servicing the customer. It will not only make their jobs easier to do when they know that they have a team behind them, but, they’ll begin to keep one another honest in living up to the shared values of delivering impeccable service.

3. Hire and Train for Empathy: It’s important to look for and develop empathy among your front-line staff. The better your team can understand where your customers are coming from and what they need, the more likely your team will be able to deliver the “right” service in the “right” way to impress your customers.

4. Empower the Front-Line: Once your team is properly staffed and trained, it’s wise to get out of their way and let them deliver on your promises. An empowered front-line (that are properly prepared to do their jobs) will make the most appropriate service delivery decisions without having to seek permission or approval. In turn, empowered teams will streamline your whole service process without any negative impact on your business.

5. Measure for Customer Satisfaction: One of the areas that may of my clients trip-up on is employee measurement. Many fail to identify and institute the most appropriate measures to encourage desired staff behaviors. So, be sure to measure them on customer happiness and not attempt to limit their ability to deliver great service by measuring them on the wrong things.

To close, please remember that your customer always have other choices. So, instituting a service delivery model that serves and delights your most discerning customers will keep them coming back for more. I hope that you use these 5 management practices to form the foundation for your service delivery approach. As I begin to drive a new consulting practice within N2Growth, I intend to use them for sure!

Please note that this article originally appeared at Inc.com on April 25, 2016.  If you like this column, subscribe to email alerts and you’ll never miss an article.

Recognition: A Perfect Story for the Holiday Season

This tale will tug on your heart strings and should help to get you in the mood for celebrating the holidays.

Why Doing Good Is Actually Good for Business

This “Doing Good” Program shows that high integrity and strong corporate values drive terrific business outcomes.

There is a growing awareness that human capital and positive organizational dynamics are key to long-term business success. Happy employees drive harder than disgruntled ones and they proceed cautiously when trust is low and doubt is in the equation. For this reason, the clients that I work have found that staff engagement and employee satisfaction can only be built on a solid foundation based on impeccable values and high performance standards.

Knowing that great business solutions go with values, Arison Investments conducted a massive-scale implementation of its “Doing Good Model,” for 27,000 employees across more than 40 countries in its diversified portfolio of finance, real estate, infrastructure, renewable energy, water, and salt industries.

Chairman and CEO of Arison Investments, Efrat Peled, has this to say about the Doing Good Model program:

“Today, in order to manage and drive forward a flourishing business, you must place values and integrity at the core of the corporate DNA.”

“Business leaders that create the most impact empower champions on the ground, from mid-management top down and employees bottom-up. It’s all about connecting to meaning, rather than execution. For example, at Arison Investments employees on all levels voluntarily participate in cross-organizational forums that serve as incubators for values-based entrepreneurship.”

“Success should be driven by people identifying with the company’s backbone of values. This will give employees on all levels the opportunity and go-ahead to innovate, which is an intrinsic compensation built into doing something you are passionate about.”

“Ethical business conduct and peak performance go hand in hand. Economic stability can only be reached through investments in the business that bring positive impact on all levels of the organizations.”

“Committing to a long-term strategy inspires unexpected solutions that are unique and practical. Bank Hapoalim, Arison’s financial services group, focused its vision on the value of Financial Freedom, and leveraged its leadership to set into motion transformative processes in the entire market, including its Small Businesses Initiative that resulted in increased nation-wide growth for small and medium-sized businesses — which, in turn, drove growth opportunities for the business.”

Here are some of the early results from the effort:

  • At Bank Hapoaim, the share price appreciated +63% with a compounded annual growth rate of 13.5%. Further, it has been ranked #1 in peer group among the most actively traded stocks on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange
  • At Shikun & Binui, the share price appreciated +28% in the last 5 years, with a net profit of 8.5%, revenue growth of 6% and a cumulative cash dividend of $454 million.

As these examples show, business leaders that drive high values and integrity into their company culture will perform better than ones that choose not to. There is no magic here, though! Cultural transformation requires deliberate effort and constant nurturing. However, dividends on the investment can be worth the effort.

This article was originally published by inc.com on November 2, 2015.