Abu Dhabi: As the UAE aims to diversify its economy away from a dependence on oil, it is using its highly skilled and productive workforce to benchmark its own success and excellence in customer service, a renowned expert said on Wednesday, citing Abu Dhabi’s areas of ongoing economic policy focus in its 2030 Vision.
“For the last 26 years, I’ve been visiting the UAE once every month. I always speak of the UAE as a role model and one of the world’s best case studies in building excellence. It is very positive about taking care of citizens, customers, the nation and the world,” Ron Kaufman, a renowned motivational speaker, author and customer service expert, told the majlis of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Lt-General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Shaikh Omar Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, attended the lecture held at Al Bateen Palace in Abu Dhabi.
In his lecture themed “How to Build a Culture of Service Excellence”, Kaufman said building an uplifting service culture requires everyone to take responsibility, understand and play their roles with clarity and vigour — from the top down, and from the bottom up.
“As more businesses realise excellent customer service can be a competitive advantage, the big question is not how to improve service performance, but how to create a culture of continuous service improvement with an unwavering focus on customer experience,” Kaufman, founder of UP! Your Service, a company that enables leaders and organisations to build Uplifting Service cultures for sustainable advantage, said.
Kaufman said to successfully and sustainably differentiate based on service, improving customer experience must be the responsibility of an entire organisation, not only a customer service department. “Organisations must create an environment to motivate, support and recognise employees for consistently taking action to create value for customers and colleagues,” Kaufman said.
He said a service culture also creates a better place to work. This engages and motivates employees to improve performance and helps organisations attract and retain superior talent.
Kaufman said to build a service culture, nations and organisations must sustain focus on three key areas: service leadership, service education and ‘The 12 Building Blocks’ of service culture support.
Kaufman stressed that Service Communication, as one of the key building blocks of service culture, support, inform, educate and motivate the entire organisation. Creative communication channels surround everyone with relevant service information, timely customer feedback, uplifting success stories, and current challenges and objectives.
Of the Service Improvement process, Kaufman said continuous service improvement can be everyone’s ongoing project and passion. “Engage your team members with workshops, initiatives, contests and suggestion programmes that educate, motivate and empower,” he said.
Kaufman said building a culture of service excellence happens the same way as the construction of a building.
Leaders define what service will look like for their customers. A proven architecture is used to design the required language, knowledge, behaviour and actions, and a plan is created that fits them all together.
“The foundation of a service culture is built on service education. These fundamental service principles ensure everyone is speaking and understanding together. The walls and internal systems of a service culture are the practices, which we call The 12 Building Blocks. These keep the organisation aligned so that service providers are encouraged and supported, and service itself is improving.
“The roof is an active and engaged leadership team — driving, supporting and role-modelling service. They protect the organisation’s key assets — the people inside who make service excellence possible. The result is a sturdy service culture built on proven principles.”
Kaufman stressed like any building, sustaining a service culture requires constant care and attention to keep employees and customers engaged.