The Service Profit Chain is a well-documented concept.
Since the original research was published in 1989, hundreds of articles have promoted the original findings which essentially boil down to the fact that happy employees create happy customers – and the happier the customers you have, the more money you make –
Yes, I know that was a very simplified version.
What not so many people talk about, or even document, is that this concept of ‘happy employees’ is not so much a question of employee satisfaction but, to a much higher degree, a question of employee engagement.
So, what are the steps to producing a high level of engagement on a service team?
According to the original research in The Service Profit Chain, there 8 steps in a self-reinforcing cycle called the dream team cycle.
Look closely and you will recognize that this is exactly what the best high profile service companies do:
The Right Team
Careful selection of new recruits. Hire for attitude. Train for skills.Coach for performance and that includes dealing with the bad apples.
Best in class training and development at all levels in the organization. Continuous improvement is considered one of the great benefits of the job. “In this job, I grow”…
Great Support Systems
Service is not just something the frontline does for our customers. Service is our culture. Employees and managers who do not have customer contact service the employees that do. (Our IT department is not the IT-Police – it is an internal service department that supports the frontline in getting the job done.)
The best service employees take pride in solving the problem on the spot. So the freedom to act is hugely motivating. Southwest Airlines famously tells its employees, ”You may do anything you are not uncomfortable doing to solve a passengers problem.”
In the same way that anyone who has made it to a great sports team knows what is expected of them, employees in the best service organizations also know what is expected of them. It is part of their motivation to be part of a team that is not afraid to set the bar high.
Appropriate Rewards and Recognition
Focusing on what works, celebrating success, and acknowledging each others contributions makes work meaningful.
High Levels of Satisfaction and Engagement
As a result of Steps 1-6, we generate not just higher levels of satisfaction, but also real engagement – Service work becomes fun and meaningful.
Employees Recommend New Employees
When we need to recruit new team members, our best employees recommend friends and previous colleagues from other organizations because these are the people they would like to work with. Gradually we become the preferred employer in our region – which means we get the pick of the crop.
And that takes us back to Step 1 – The Right Team.
Done consistently this 8-step cycle become a self-reinforcing process that propels our service delivery capacity to higher and higher levels – and we all know what that does for our customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Building a great service business begins with understanding the Service Profit Chain framework. In my view, that is the foundation. Check out my free introduction here