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Building a service culture

In his book, Uplifting Service: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues, and Everyone Else You Meet (2012), Ron Kaufman maps the steps that need to be taken by organisations to build the self-sustaining service culture necessary to rise above the competition. This is extremely important for all professionals, because, according to Kaufman, all departments within an organisation should ideally be ‘service oriented’ – since they all provide services.

Kaufman highlights two issues (which are particularly relevant in the Pakistan context) that are preventing the delivery of superior and uplifting service by departments and consequently compromising employee productivity.

1. Service is perceived incorrectly. We live with adages like “The customer is king” which imply that the service provider is not. Service is therefore viewed as a servile function and the department that provides a service is the place people go only when things go wrong and where angry customers vent their complaints. Kaufman further cautions that we need to re-examine clichés like “Serve others the way you would like to be served”, because good service is not about what you like; it is about what the other person prefers.

2. The world of service is poorly mapped. There is an absence of a proven way of working since we do not have fundamental principles, effective processes, actionable models and frameworks to guide us. We need to teach people to think about service not just as a procedure to follow, but as a mindset of commitment and proactive communication that drives productive behaviour. We need leaders who exemplify service at every level of an organisation and a roadmap that helps people create a self-sustaining culture of uplifting service.

As a practicable solution, Kauffman offers five key elements (Why, Lead, Build, Learn and Drive) that can help organisations to deliver uplifting service; these elements will be discussed next week in HR Horizons.

– Fauzia Kerai Khan

The writer is Chief Consultant, i&b Consulting,Training, e-Learning. fauzia@iandbconsulting.com

First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on August 17, 2014