Every organization strives to be world class at what they do. With the saturation of like businesses in many markets, the difference between success and failure is often the pursuit of being world class at what they do. Organizations spend a significant amount of time and money focusing on initiatives to be the best in their respective markets. Sometimes the effort is met with success and sometimes it is met with a struggle and failure. A financial organization might bring in a customer service/sales consultant to train the staff on sales techniques and implementation of service standards. While I was in school I worked at a restaurant and attended a customer service standards class for the restaurant. The concepts were interesting and motivating, but I remember walking away thinking I can’t control what people do or say.
For improvement toward world class to happen, the employees involved in the change need to understand why it is needed and why they also have some ownership in the intiative. There is a large push in business to standardize employee customer service. The goal is to eliminate that variable, the responses of employees. In a recent workshop a group had a long conversation about the challenges to get their staff on the same page and to follow the world-class approach. The group entertained the different techniques of moving from good to great. After much debate, the consensus was to not produce customer service scripts when dealing with the customers.
The group felt that by scripting the conversations with customers you eliminate the human element which can be the biggest challenge, but you also take away the largest asset. The effect of having tight guidelines prescript responses to handling customers does guarantee the same response time over time. Although it may give you a standardized response, it often leaves the customer feeling insulted and the employee is not feeling any responsibility to being world class. When more and more rules are put in place, the less control an employee feels they have. That being said if employees feel they have no less control of the outcome, then they are less likely to wow a customer due to the fact that it is not in their script. So how do you move your organization to world class?
To be world class every person inside the organization needs to be constantly improving and moving forward. There are constant forces pushing against the organization and the customers. There is a need in every organization to be constantly improving and pushing their standard bar. This does not imply every person should be training for their bosses’ position, but stretching forward inside their discipline. There is one of three paths everyone inside an organization should be on.
Promote & Advance, Cross Train to add Flexibility or Learn within you the Discipline to be World Class.
The title, Learn within you the Discipline to be World Class, may have a different meaning to different personalities. When discussing world class with a group recently, I asked how well the staff was doing and the resounding response was, “good”. But upon further conversation around what world class is, they quickly changed their minds and felt that although they were doing well they were not working at a world class standard. It is important to define what world class is. World class is not found on the job description but rather created to go above and beyond standard procedures. Next month we will discuss more about world class and how to start defining it within your organization.
If you know anything about being world class and want to share your info with us, we welcome your feedback and ideas!
Craig is the primary facilitator at Priority Learning, he is responsible for conducting an array of leadership series offered and consulting assignments from communications to team development in organizations ranging from the service industries to finance, manufacturing and more. Having extensive experience at balancing the business needs with the wants and desires of people are Craig's strongest assets.