All businesses can tell you very quickly what is the physical product or service they sell, but few take the time to identify clearly for their employees what is the “true product” of the organization. The “true product” should encompass the emotion that results from the customer’s interaction with your business. Top management may know what they want the customer to feel when they walk out the door, but often that has not been communicated to the frontline. Top management may assume this is what is occurring in each customer interaction, when in reality, it may not be. There is a big difference in the customer’s experience when the focus is on delivering the “true product”.
For example, a computer store salesperson who is just selling the hardware product, will sell and serve the customer with the focus on the technological outcomes of the equipment such as; speed, capacity, memory, etc. There is little interaction in the experience that creates an emotional attachment with the customer. However, if the “true product” for this computer store has been identified and communicated to all employees as “we enhance people’s lives” the salesperson is more likely to focus on how the product will make the customer’s life easier, simplify their issues, and provide solutions to their problems. And isn’t this what the customer is really seeking? Remember the old sales expression: the customer doesn’t need a ¼ inch drill bit, the customer needs a ¼ inch hole. By the way, the “true product” should be communicated to all employees, so in this example, the entire store personnel would be looking for ways to “enhance people’s lives”. And it can be applied to both internal and external customers.
Identifying your “true product” focuses employees on the higher meaning and purpose of their jobs. Employees need to understand the value of what they do beyond the basic tasks. Most people want to know their work is meaningful to others. When an employee is proud of what they do and the organization they work for, they will usually go the extra mile when opportunities present themselves. Leaders need to provide this foundation of pride and sense of higher purpose. Having a defined service philosophy provides both direction and inspiration.
The Service Philosophy should not be the same as your mission or vision statement. It should simply answer the questions: What do we do? And How do we do it? Here are some examples from varied businesses:
What do we do?
1. We create happiness
2. We build life-enhancing relationships
3. We provide peace of mind
How do we do it?
1. By providing the finest in entertainment
2. By helping our customers identify and achieve their financial dreams
3. By installing secure systems and alarms
As you can see with the above examples, they are very simple and to the point. Yet, the message conveys what the result is they are selling to their customers. The Service Philosophy helps everyone internally know the image the organization wants to create and gives a consistency to everyone’s efforts. When employees know and understand the “true product”, they will work to uphold the image and provide the bridge for the emotional connection.
Do you know what your “true product” is? Has it been communicated to all your employees?
Teri Yanovitch, helps organizations identify and develop their Service Philosophy Contact T.A. Yanovitch, Inc.