Service culture: does it apply within the organization?

This phrase resonated to me most when I read ​Jeff ​Eilertsen‘s article on Why Building a Strong Service Culture Answers CEO Top Challenges:

But can “reshaping the culture of work” actually address all four top concerns? The answer is a resounding YES. As I work with clients worldwide, I see all four challenges being addressed and answered through the development of a strong and sustainable service culture strategy.

 

I’ve heard about this type of statement before with many directors or CEO that I met. It confuses me though that these leaders say what they think is right but never apply the essence. I am so fed up with it! We continue to profess the need for change in the organizational culture to promote customer service excellence yet we fail to deliver this within the internal process and relationships. Inside the organization, we admire people with knowledge and skills. Yet, our biggest challenge are the relationships within the team and the inter-department staff. We cling to our ego that we are better than anyone else. We highly compete for who is better or “right” without thinking the purpose of who benefits from our work and how we could serve them better. This is lacking in the internal relationships. And the primary reason we fail to provide excellence in customer service because we can’t even practice it within the organization.

How could we serve others when we can’t help each other at all?!

 

Does generation gap has to do with customer service? Yes, territorialism mentality is the culprit! This mentality of “let me do my work and you do yours”   caused rift, confusion, mistrust and failure to advance, consequently does not meet the service deliveries.

Service culture needs to exist internally first before we can provide customer service excellence .

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Comments (30)

  1. Jason B - Reply

    March 6, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Customer service is crucial in any business. I was taught to treat people the way that you want t be treated. unfortunately everyone doesn’t do that though.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 7, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      Although others don’t do that, Jason, it’s still critical we continue to “fight” – to be a role model so others can learn.

  2. William Rusho - Reply

    March 4, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Your article about Customer Service makes me remember my days in the military. As an officer you get taught one thing; accomplish the mission. No matter what, this means you get the job done, it does not matter if you have to do someone else’s work for them, you need to do it. I think too many people sit in their own world, and worry about what they have to do, instead of looking at the big picture to get the job accomplished.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 4, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      I agree with you William..we worry too much instead of looking at the big picture. I truly appreciate that wisdom particularly if internal customer service must exist, a bigger picture mindset is required.

  3. Edward Reid - Reply

    March 3, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Years ago I was part of an organization that truly practiced internal customer service, with a great supervisor who initiated real teamwork. With just a few new hires the philosophy went south. When we failed to help each other, the customer began to suffer.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 4, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Sorry to hear the downslide, although, from what you indicated it internal customer service can exists!

  4. Meredith @ The Palette Muse - Reply

    March 3, 2015 at 12:18 am

    I had a great customer service experience on the phone today, and it made me think that person must be really happy at work. That may or may not be true, but I think it relates to this post pretty well!

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experience Meredith. Hope is alive!

  5. Marquita Herald - Reply

    March 2, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Excellent point Mahal! It’s been a few years since I worked within a company structure, but the fact that I can think of a number of examples of just the kind of scenario you’re describing goes to show that little if anything has changed over the years. Inspiring and well said.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 2, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      Thank you Marquita. Yes, this is a continuous endeavour and required frequent reminder so we do not fall behind again.

  6. Tim - Reply

    March 2, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Could not agree more. I see it, like everyone else, in so-called service organizations where the service falls below the need to boost the bottom line. If you’re in a service industry then service should be foremost. No better place to start than internally.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 2, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      Thank you Tim for sharing your insight. It seems a common sense yet we continue to see lagging in this aspect since its apparent that internally we do not even see or feel it.

  7. Ken Dowell - Reply

    March 1, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I think it is a good point to make that if you don’t have good internal customer service within your organization, you are probably not going to provide the kind of service you should be providing to your outside customers.;

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 1, 2015 at 11:29 pm

      Sounds simple yet continues to be a challenging feat.

  8. Michele Harvey - Reply

    March 1, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    We live in a world where we have been taught to compete and here in The States with our free enterprise system, there are examples of what you write about, everywhere I look. Being right is not the same as being happy, and in reality, what we do as people, is that we spend much of our lives providing services and goods that are meant to serve others. By serving others, we also serve ourselves. That being said, I believe there is such a thing as competing in order to achieve your own personal best, as opposed to competition for the point of showing someone else up. In the end, it’s not about who wins, it’s about the quality of our relationships and how we serve others that truly counts.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 1, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      What an inspiring perspective Michele, thank you! We call can learn and use this wisdom.

  9. Beth Niebuhr - Reply

    March 1, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    It is such a joy to be part of a team that works well together – and so uncomfortable when consideration and respect aren’t in play. The outsider (customer) can tell right away which type of company it is. It makes a person feel good when the former is evidenced. I went on a tour of Zappos in Las Vegas and that company is just the epitomy of a company with a great attitude. It’s heart warming to see how everyone, top to bottom, get along and honor each other.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 1, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      I heard about Zappos too and I bet it was inspirational to experience their culture when you visited. Thanks for sharing this to us.

  10. Doreen Pendgracs - Reply

    March 1, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Hello Mahal: I think that Toastmasters International does the best job I’ve ever seen in encouraging clubs and Districts to work as an integrated team. We’re instructed to learn one another’s roles, to be able to cover for one another when we cannot attend a meeting, that everyone should greet guests at the door, etc. If everyone at every company or organization practiced that same protocol, they would function much better, and the end result is that every customer (or potential new member) would be treated with the utmost care and concern.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 1, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      Thank you Doreen for pointing out about Toastmasters Int. and what a great news to know about them.

  11. Erica - Reply

    March 1, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Of course, internal relationships are very important. You can sense when employees are unhappy in a company and that does reflect in the customer service. When I was a kid, we used to have to do trust exercises so we could bond as a group. I remember exercises where we had to get the whole team over a wall using just our bodies. I wonder if exercises like that in the work force help create employee unity.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 1, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      I had that experience too Erica…although not in our company. Now that you mentioned it, that would be a great activity. Not only you discuss trust but actually experience the value of it.

  12. Lenie - Reply

    March 1, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    This is so true. In my last position I was the one at the top and most of my staff were volunteers. If you want to keep volunteers you need to respect them and their contribution, which is invaluable. Well, you can’t treat them one way and your paid staff another way so respect in the workplace was a given. We were all proud of what we did and this attitude was conveyed to people we dealt with. So I firmly believe you hit the nail on the head with this one.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 1, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you Lenie for pointing out integrity with how to elevate the value of others.

  13. Patricia Weber - Reply

    March 1, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Being a corporate trainer, even though I’m less engaged by choice than in the past, everything that a customer experiences at the front line communicates the attitude at the top. I vividly recall after delivering a 2 day customer service workshop (back then is was more smile training that the management wanted( one of the participants came up to me after the session. “All these techniques and ideas you have a truly customer focused. But it’s not going to happen here.” You can likely guess how quickly the conversation degraded into this all starts at the top and it isn’t here. I think, that is still the case in many companies still today. Sad.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 1, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      Thank you for pointing it out Patricia that when we deal this type of issues it becomes: who is to blame?
      Yes, sad and this is the main reason we need to talk about it more to educate more people.

  14. Jacqueline Gum - Reply

    March 1, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    I am in complete agreement with Arleen above. It does start at home…respecting each other comes first if we are to respect the customer above all else.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 1, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      Respect is integral in customer service. You are right Jacqueline – each other first before we can authentically can towards our customers.

  15. Arleen - Reply

    March 1, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    I totally agree that service must exist internally. We all need to provide service and respect within so that it becomes second nature with the customer. The old expression “It starts at home” applies. Working as a team does make a difference with your attitude of which the customer can pick up immediately.

    • Mahal Hudson - Reply

      March 1, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      Definitely “it starts at home” – thank you for your wisdom.

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