Mission Statements and the Customer Service Mission

Many times in my classes students often confuse a mission statement with the business description. A mission statement communicates to the world what you as a company stands for. You have read some of them, like “We aim to be No. 1”, or to “Give back to Society”. And a business description is one that defines the industry, product and market of the company. So these are completely different in their scope.

But why not have your mission statement focus on the customer and what you might do for them instead of on you? As a customer I don’t care about what the company will do but what it will do for me and others in terms of perceived value. After all, customers are the ones who purchase your products, pay your bills and your salary, and help grow your business from day to day. So, your company would be nowhere without people to buy your products. Treating these people extremely well should be the No. 1 goal of every company. By giving your customers great customer service you will be ahead of the competition. Give great customer service and your customers will keep coming back and they will tell their friends who tell their friends, and so on. You will have the benefit of viral marketing, the best kind of marketing you can have.

But, how do you communicate to your employees and the world what your mission is with regard to customer service? Here are a few tips:

Write down the mission statement of your company and include a customer service component.

1. Make it real. Put in place systems that help, instead of hinder, customer service. Give the employees the tools to make it happen. For example, make a system to make sure that orders are taken accurately; instill in your employees the bottom-line value of giving good customer service. Work should end up being easier because of good customer service.
2. Respect customer service. We need to see that customer service is an honorable profession. Respecting the importance of servicing others – whether it is your suppliers, your co-workers, or the mother buying your baby food online – is key to giving great service.
3. Define what you mean by customer service and then measure the results. Spell it out in clear, definitive terms what you mean by customer service. It is not enough to say “The customer is always right”, what does that really mean?

Here are three steps to great customer service:

a) Figure out what the customers want.
b) Get it for them accurately, politely, and enthusiastically.
c) Go the extra mile for the customer.

After you have defined excellent customer service, measure the results to see if it is working and reward the people who give great service. Keep track of the number of returns, incorrect fulfillment, customer complaints, repeat orders, repeat customers and customer referrals. Watching service performance scores can predict whether you will have problems in the future.

Margo Moore teaches BE 261 Starting a Small Business, CEO 001 Setting a Course for Your Business, CEO 002 Knowing Your Market, and CEO 003 Formulating Your Financial Strategy.

4 thoughts on “Mission Statements and the Customer Service Mission”

  1. “As a customer I don’t care about what the company will do but what it will do for me and others in terms of perceived value.”

    Some people want to believe (whether or not it’s true) that a company is contributing to a larger good. E.g., Toms Shoes.

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