Why Should You Care About Service Excellence?

Why do we stress the importance of service excellence at Savannah Lakes Village? Why should you care about practicing it?

These important questions can’t be answered in a few sentences. Over the next few months, we’ll share with you why your role in providing service excellence is essential to the success of Savannah Lakes Village.

First, let’s define service excellence:

“Service excellence is the consistent delivery of a high value/price experience, day after day, year after year, regardless of who happens to be on the front lines of the delivery process. It is the systematic output of a service model that is designed explicitly to produce it.” (Decision to Lead, 2009).

Does the systematic output of a service model matter? Think about your favorite restaurant. What do you like about it? It’s likely the quality of food, the value you get for the money you spend, the consistency of service quality, and a sense of genuine care you feel from the restaurant staff.

Consumers demand service excellence, but many are begrudgingly settling for sub-par service and quality because of a general lack of commitment by businesses to embark on a journey toward excellence. When consumers must lower the bar for what they expect in service excellence, the organization providing the service becomes just like everyone else. There’s no special reason to be loyal to one business when everyone is doing the same thing.

To be competitive in today’s market, organizations must distinguish themselves from competitors. What makes SLV different from other communities with similar amenities?  Sure, SLV provides numerous ways to enjoy life on South Carolina’s Freshwater Coast; however, that alone is not enough. Those who provide service to residents must realize that meeting consumers’ highest expectations is what sets one place apart from another.

Al Stubblefield,journey in “Journey to Excellence: Creating a Culture that Wows!” says culture will drive or drag strategy. Stubblefield should know. He was president and CEO of Baptist Health Care Corporation in the 1990s when the hospital had reached an all-time low in patient satisfaction (18th percentile). He asked the question, “How can we build a sustainable competitive advantage in our marketplace?” Stubblefield realized that being as good as the competition was not enough. Baptist Health Care had to be noticeably better. Thus began a journey toward service excellence.

Stubblefield wanted to create a hospital where people were happy to serve and where those people felt empowered to perform at the highest level.

The first thing Stubblefield learned is you can’t change the culture and achieve service excellence – and satisfy customers – without an engaged, motivated and satisfied workforce.

Through first focusing on developing and retaining engaged employees, Baptist Health Care began a journey that took it straight to the top 1 percent in patient satisfaction, where it consistently remained. They have been honored nationally for both patient and employee satisfaction. That’s not surprising. Engaged team members translates into satisfied consumers.

Savannah Lakes Village is on its own journey. We want team members in every role within the organization to be engaged, happy and prepared to deliver a “wow experience” on a daily basis.

If SLV team members are not the source of inspiration for service excellence, then the organization will never meet customer satisfaction goals. Stubblefield notes five pillars in their service excellence model. SLV has adapted this model to include people, service, member/guest experience, finance and growth. These do not work independent of each other. One leads to the other. Having engaged people results in service that is of high quality, and this leads to an organization with a positive financial standing that can reinvest in itself and grow. We should all be concerned with these five pillars, as organizational growth is good news for everyone.

We’ll first start with our people. Next time, expect to read about ways Savannah Lakes Village team members can impact the organization. You might have already watched the video on this blog site where team members from various areas within SLV describe how they focus on certain core values to live out service excellence.

Next time we will explore exactly how you, as a team member, can drive a culture of service excellence at SLV.

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