Building a culture of service excellence

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In the words of Howard Shultz, Founder and CEO of Starbucks, “We are not in the coffee business serving people, but in the people business serving coffee”. The same is true for the business of public transport!

The UITP Action Points, ‘Building a culture of service excellence to develop a public transport business’, aims to present the importance for public transport companies to redefine their corporate culture, vision and values, so that staff are properly motivated to provide excellent service. The paper outlines the manifold benefits of developing a culture of service excellence within a company and provides recommendations for making the “human factor” the central concern within the organisation, management and communication of the company.

Engaging with staff is key!

An age-old conviction rings true in the business of public transport: only a satisfied employee can make a satisfied customer. Without satisfied customers, a business cannot succeed. Therefore, providing a motivating culture in which staff feel empowered, respected and valued within a company is essential to sustaining any business.

Building any corporate culture involves a trickle-down approach from upper management to frontline staff. Everyone must be engaged and inspired by a common goal to which they are all working. This requires digging into deeper areas of the organisation’s development, such as the definition of its corporate vision, mission and strategy. The development of a culture of service excellence starts at the very foundation of any company and must be mirrored in the working process and management. Only in this way can a corporate culture become manifest and translate into a code of behaviour.

One of the key objectives is to ensure that each employee understands his or her role and how their job contributes to the full mission of public transport. In this way, employees will be driven to perform excellently which not only implies excellent customer service, but increased productivity in general.

SMRT: ‘Moving people, enhancing lives’
SMRT is a leading multimodal transport solutions provider in Singapore. Their vision: “Moving people, enhancing lives”. Their mission? “To be the people’s choice by delivering a world-class transport service and lifestyle experience that is safe, reliable and customer-centric”. To support its vision and mission, SMRT has developed a Service Excellence Framework which empowers its staff to take initiatives and behave in a certain way. They share a common purpose, share service standards and identify what service excellence means to them. Service excellence is something that can concretely be achieved at SMRT, and staff can achieve this goal every day.

Developing a Human Resources strategy
A Human Resources strategy for service excellence consists of five key elements. First is hiring the right people and ensuring diversity. Hiring needs to follow a rigorous and strict selection process, hiring those with the engaging traits that are necessary for a service industry job. Second, you will also need to provide and invest in training for your staff to continually improve themselves.

The third step is more challenging: empowering for quality service. Management must make clear the responsibilities of the staff from the beginning of their employment so the boundaries are set. Fourth, management should also reward excellence to encourage staff to take initiatives more often. Finally, installing a customer-first culture. The customer’s needs and expectations should be the priority of all staff.

For a full list of recommendations and examples of companies that have already built a culture of service excellence, read the full Action Points!

Download the Action Points from MyLibrary!

Please read what our Secretary General, Mohamed Mezghani, has to say on the issue!

Check out our full list of training programmes for 2018 and invest in a well-trained staff!

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