Service Excellence on Leader Effectiveness
Lauren DiStefano Taylor
University of Texas at Arlington
The Impact of Personal Commitment to Service
Excellence on Leader Effectiveness
In today’s highly competitive marketplace many firms broadcast their service excellence as a way to separate themselves from the competition. In service oriented industries, service excellence can be noted as being the number one most important factor to achieve success. The President of Walt Disney resorts, George Kalogridis, states in the article, Chain of Excellence (2010) “If I could put my finger on the one thing that Disney does best, it would be that we exceed expectations. No where do we demonstrate this more effectively than in our service delivery” (pg. 7). Achieving a high level of service excellence is thought to translate into high profit for one’s company. Customer satisfaction can be directly linked to customer retention and increased long term profits. In the article Achieving Service Excellence by Design Crotts and Ford (2010) suggest that “Profitability depends on maximizing the lifetime value of your customers, and that value is fully assured only when you earn the customer’s loyalty” (pg. 233). In many service industries the individual employee has the biggest lasting impact on a customer’s perception of the quality of the service provided. Crotts et al. (2008) found “The problem for managers is that this employee is typically the one with the least seniority, lowest level of pay, least experience, and least identification with the long-term goals and objectives of the organization” (pg. 234). Since the frontline employee ultimately becomes the face of an organization, it becomes crucial that their management and leadership inspire these employees to achieve service excellence.
The first step for any firm to achieve a high level of service excellence is to establish their vision. Without a clear understanding of the quality of service a firm aims to supply, the individual employees are unable to implement it adequately. Most organizations hold yearly management meetings or retreats where the firm’s short and long term missions are established and reviewed. While many find this process to be highly productive, there appears to be a divide between the establishment of the visions and the implementation of goals. In the article Aligning Organizational Processes with Mission: The Case of Service Excellence Crotts, Dickson and Ford (2005) found, “There is a gap between what the mission says and what people in the organization believe is management's real message” (pg. 54). In these instances, the employees have been given mixed signals. Workers are frequently told what the ultimate mission should be but are not given direction on how to reach the final goal. This leads to a deviation of tasks that lowers level of service excellence. For example, a company sets an overall mission to increase profits. The workers might interpret the statement to mean they should cut corners. This strategy decreases customer satisfaction and in turn leads to decreased profit. These types of situations require an alignment of ideologies.
Alignment is the process of creating uniform practices, actions, policies and process that managers use to gain support for a common mission. These techniques are used to communicate to employees what is important and what is not. Alignment establishes an understanding by the employee of what might bring value to an organization. While managers’ cues might be given in an explicit or implicit way, they often result in success. Ford, Heaton and Brown (2001) found “that benchmark guest service organizations like Disney, Four Seasons, Harrah’s, Ritz Carlton, and Southwest Airlines are successful based in part on their ability to align their strategic activities, staffing policies, and system designs and procedures so that everything and everyone in the organization...