Business Management
6 min read

5 Challenges you'll face when implementing a new service culture

Catherine Rey
Written by

Creating a new service culture in your company can be overwhelming. In fact, merely thinking about the idea of changing how you and your team work is enough to leave even the most seasoned leader feeling anxious. But let's be honest, creating a service culture is not just important; if you want any shot at outlasting or outperforming your competition, it's essential.

With so many companies offering the same product or service, it's important to look at what differentiates one company from another to attract and retain customers. In most cases, that difference comes down to customer experience; it's what your company will provide that other companies won't.

Let's take a closer look at the stats. According to Hubspot research, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service. What's more, nearly three out of five consumers report that good customer service is vital for them to feel loyalty toward a brand according to this Zendesk report.

Looking at how these statistics effect the bottom line, Hubspot also found that 68% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer good customer service experiences. Whilst Bain and Company discovered that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by between 25% and 95% -  implementing a service culture is indisputably good for business. 

However, it can be challenging to implement new processes in an organization, particularly when the employees don't understand the purpose of the new processes or why they should be doing them in the first place. Here are the top five challenges you'll encounter when implementing a new service culture—and how to go around them.

 

Lack of top-down support can miss the frontline team

When you're implementing a new service culture, you want to ensure that all the right people know what's going on. But sometimes, even when you have top-down support, you still need to communicate with the frontline team and make sure they're on board with what's coming down from above.

For example, if a lower-level employee feels like their manager isn't supporting them, they may not feel comfortable asking for help or giving feedback about the new service culture issues. This can cause problems as your company moves forward with implementing a new service culture.

There are various important reasons to support your frontline employees:

They'll be happier and more productive

It sounds simple, but it works. When employees feel supported by their managers and coworkers, they're more likely to want to do better work for their company. They'll be more motivated, enthusiastic and engaged in their work. And that means that you'll get better results from them in every area of your business.

When you support your frontline people, you'll see happier customers, which means more sales! You'll also see happier employees, which means they'll be more invested in their work and less likely to leave. When they have a strong sense of purpose and feel valued by their company, they're more likely to stick around.

They're closest to customers' needs

Your frontline workers are often best positioned to identify opportunities for improvement based on what they see and hear from customers every day. When they spot problems, they can fix them quickly—often before they become big issues or even turn into complaints.

They'll have better relationships with customers, which in turn means customers are likely to recommend your company to others and make sure their friends are happy with the service they receive from your company as well.

They are the face of your brand

Your frontline employees aren't just your front line—they're the face of your company. They're the first point of contact for customers, and they're the ones who make sure that the customer experience is as smooth and pleasant as possible.

They're the ones who deal with every customer interaction, from the pleasant to the not-so-pleasant. They're the ones who make sure that your brand is being portrayed positively. They're the ones who have to smile even when a customer is being rude or unreasonable. And they do all of this while wearing your brand's name on their chest, so they're essentially walking advertisements for you!

It's a win-win for everyone involved

When you give your frontline people the tools they need to do their jobs well, they'll feel more empowered and motivated to do their best. They'll also be able to give their customers the best possible experience, which means that customers will keep coming back. And that means you'll have a steady stream of revenue coming in.

 

Customer service training for employees, and what else?

If your company wants to implement a new service culture, it's important to remember that training alone won't solve the problem. You need to ensure that your employees have the necessary tools and skills, but it's just as important that you ensure they have the right mindset. Employees who are committed to creating an excellent customer experience will require more than just classroom training—they'll need ongoing coaching and support from leaders to succeed.

To make sure your employees are fully equipped to deliver an outstanding service culture, you need to consider a few key areas:

Management commitment

If you want employees to adopt a new service culture, then management needs to embrace the change as well. Management members need to understand why this is important and how it will benefit the company. This can be harder than it sounds. It might require some convincing on your part—but if they see that this could make their life easier too (and therefore make them more productive), they'll be more likely to get behind it.

Employee buy-in

Employee buy-in is a great way to ensure that your new services are implemented successfully. Asking your employees for their input will show them that you value their opinions and help them feel invested in the service culture you're trying to create.

Process for ongoing training and development

You need to make sure that your company has a process for ongoing training and development so everyone has the tools they need to succeed. This can include formalized training programs and informal learning opportunities like reading books or watching videos online.

Ongoing monitoring and feedback

A service culture is built on a foundation of trust and respect, which means it's essential to create an environment where employees feel safe and empowered to give feedback. To ensure employees are getting the right kind of feedback, you need to provide ongoing monitoring and evaluation of their work. This will help you identify any issues before they become major problems.

Incentives for positive behavior

In addition to training, you will need to incentivize positive behavior. This could be something as simple as a reward system or a points system. You may also want to consider offering incentives like gift cards or discounts on products and services. Make sure that these incentives are aligned with your company's values though, and don't be afraid to change them if they aren't working well after a few weeks.

 

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Service culture: A priority for each organizational function?

When you're implementing a new service culture, it's important to consider the challenges you might face in each organizational function. Every organizational function will have its own priorities. The sales team might focus on closing deals, while the customer service team has to focus on solving customer problems. The human resources department needs to hire new employees and the finance department needs to keep track of spending. It can be difficult for these teams to come together; if they don't find a way to do so, they won't be able to create a unified service experience for your customers.

 

'That's the way we do it' mentality

The "That's the way we do it" mentality is one of the most challenging obstacles to overcome when implementing a new service culture. This mentality is often characterized by employees who are resistant to change and have worked for years with the same processes and systems. They may even feel that their way of doing things is better than your new system, creating tension between team members and managers.

The best way to combat this challenge is by educating your employees on why the new system is necessary, how it benefits them and the company, and encouraging them to think about improving it.

 

Senior leadership: are they willing to learn?

Are senior leaders involved and genuinely interested in investing their time, effort and budget into implementing a new service culture? If so, you're off to a great start. Are they willing to learn? If not—forget it. They'll never lead others on behalf of your customers.

If they aren't open to learning, you can be sure that no one else will be either. So, ask them what they might need help with? How can you help them develop their understanding of customer experience? How can you best support them as they work to change how people work together across your organization? What are some specific things they want to get done differently for customers over the next six months or year?

This conversation is an opportunity to create accountability at all levels throughout your organization. Leadership needs a clear picture of what success looks like and what's expected from each team member. Leaders must also understand their role in creating these experiences. It takes both commitment from leadership, who should prioritize customer experience improvement, and commitment from every individual within an organization to make customer experience improvement happen.

 

Service Culture - it's a win-win

A strong service culture provides your organization with many benefits, including happier and more personally fulfilled customers and employees alike. Here you can find some examples of service culture in action. By approaching your organization's cultural change with this goal in mind, you will enable your workers to focus on creating meaningful interactions with the people they are serving, building long-lasting bonds of trust. Before long, you will be able to see the massive impact of such a culture.

Ultimately, it's a matter of ensuring that expectations are aligned and that the right people are involved.

 
Written by

Sales & Marketing Manager at EHL Advisory Services

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