YOU know that increasing customers’ expectations have escalated the stakes for your organisation.

Furthermore, you are also aware that in a price- and time-sensitive world, your people, product and process attributes have becoming exceedingly transparent.

Company-wide effort

To compete and have your organisation excel, you need:

* A new breakthrough total service proposition at all contact points that makes a huge difference and restacks the odds to your advantage; and

* To develop the art of service excellence across your organisation and have it make a huge immediate difference to your top and bottom-line instantly.

To kick-start the above, you need to re-shift your organisation’s focus and promote a strategic customer-centricity by working directly on your organisation’s “software”.

And, naturally, you need to start on this by paying attention to the overall customer experience your organisation creates.

Developing the art of service excellence across your organisation is like painting a masterpiece.

You simply cannot do it as a beginner, overnight.

There are foundational mindsets that need to be developed, significant effort in skills development that needs to be put in consistently over time and a unique style that needs to be invented.

And here are three pointers on how you can get started on it:

1. Create a unique experience

You can only start on this if you have a good appreciation of the difference between selling a product, providing a service and creating an experience.

Ponder over the fact that it is easiest for your competitors to compete with you when it comes to your product, but it is tougher for them to match a high level of service, and it is almost impossible to compete when it comes to experience.

To give you an example, are you aware that the experiences created by Universal Studios and Disney theme parks are unique to them both?

And while both compete in the same marketplace, they each offer a uniquely different experience their various fans are addicted to, which no other theme park provider in the world has been able to replicate.

What is the unique experience of your customers’ interaction with your organisation?

If you don’t have one, it is time you created one.

2. The conductor leads the orchestra

Creating an experience requires performance, and performance needs to be orchestrated.

A conductor conducts the orchestra, and the orchestra — regardless of the talent in it — is only as good as the conductor.

Service in your organisation is exactly the same.

I have heard countless times these phrases uttered by people at the top of organisations: “We don’t need to attend a service initiative, it’s our middle and front-line staff who need to.”

Developing the art of service excellence cannot be instilled from the bottom up. It has to start from the top, and a “conductor” is needed to orchestrate the performance at every level.

Just take a look at the difference between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and its effect on their organisations.

Steve Job’s Apple creates products of beauty that catalyse passion in his “evangelists” and are completely focused on the user’s experience.

Does Microsoft stir your emotions in the same way?

The conductors, in both cases, are predominantly responsible for the experiences their organisations create.

Just as the members of an orchestra watch the gestures of the conductor and take their lead from them, your staff listen to your talk, pay more attention to your walk and then, walk your walk.

To develop the art of service excellence across your organisation, first develop the conductor and then develop the orchestra that works in conjunction with the conductor.

3. Factor in an outside-in approach

Do you really know the total experience your customers and potential customers want from you?

Developing the art of service excellence starts with listening to your customers.

If you do not have a world-class “customer listening technology” that benchmarks you across your industry, consider using the Rate Your Experience service from the Singapore Service Academy.

It will give you a clear indication of what your customers think of your people, products and services, processes, procedures and policies, as well as items that fall into the “other components” category.

From that, you will get a great sense of the experience your customers really desire so you can factor it into the operations of your business.

Only from that point forward can you factor in an outside-in approach towards developing the art of service excellence across your organisation.

Take action on these three things immediately and see how great a competitive service advantage it can create for your organisation.