Service is Not a Secret: 8 Steps to a Customer Service Revolution

By Barry Pruitt

dateThu, Nov 20, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

It’s time for a service revolution. As you prepare for the next year, there are plenty of unknowns related to the business, political, and economic climates.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur like those I see at EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization), YPO (Young President’s Organization), Vistage, C-12, and more – or a leader in your company, you better invest in training and developing your staff. John DiJulius summed it up at this year’s Fortune Growth Summit in Las Vegas when he said, “It is not your employees’ responsibility to have high service aptitude – it’s your responsibility to teach it to them.” When you invest well in the training and development of your staff, you’re also looking for ways to be more effective, successful and (of course) cost-conscious. 

In the past, corporate training programs were often seen as an optional component to the human resources trainingbudget.  Training initiatives have proven vital to the organization, but only if they are focused on results and their objectives are clearly mapped to organizational goals. Would you like to see a better ROI on your training efforts next year?

"It is always vital to connect training programs and leadership development to the company's initiatives and strategies.  And the struggle you face is making that connection clear and explicit." - Stephen Covey

Focus this year with an eye toward implementing useful training programs and with careful consideration to the most appropriate programs tied to core business priorities. DiJulius asked this question, “Do you think world class organizations become so by their hiring, or by culture training?” How many of us really think large companies with world class service reputations just happened to find the right 45,000 employees with the right attitude and aptitude? Disney says it this way, “We don’t hire people and put them in Disney … we hire people and put Disney in them.”

DiJulius went further by offering 8 Steps to Create a Customer Service Revolution.

  1. Create a day-in-the-life of your customer
  2. Create a customer service vision statement based on 3 pillars:
1) Based on your expertise
2) Representing how you treat customers
3) Based on going above and beyond (we call it going the 2nd mile at Rhythm Systems)
  1. Create your “nevers” and “always” list
  2. Create your secret service systems
  3. Collect, document, and retrieve Customer Intelligence
  4. Create your credo card
  5. Incorporate all the above in your new employee training
  6. Implement and execute

Rhythm users know we’re an authority on dashboards, and here our conversation becomes interesting: Consider all of the training programs that your organization invested in last year. List them. Now, get out your One-Page Strategic Plan and compare corporate strategy to money invested in training. Specifically, check your 3-5 year objectives and your Annual Key Initiatives. Do they align with your investment in training? Are your training efforts directly backing up corporate strategy? 

Start your leadership conversation on the topic of learning outcomes with a review of your mission statement. This process should help generate a comprehensive list of ideas and suggestions for learning outcomes that can then be refined and narrowed.

Here's a sample dashboard to guide your thinking:


Your list of learning outcomes can always be reviewed and revised as the need arises. It’s time for a service revolution. It’s time for you to lead it. As you prepare for next year make sure that service is not a secret. Here's to the intent of serving you, Barry.


Executive Summary from Patrick Thean's book Rhythm

Barry Pruitt


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images