What does the term "service culture" mean? How do companies develop a service culture?
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Corporate culture of an organization is the pattern of shared values, beliefs, and rules or patterns of common behavior in the organization. A service culture implies type of organizational culture that promotes kinds of behavior in its employees that leads to high concern for serving its customers. Zeithaml and Bitner (2003) define service culture as:
Culture where an appreciation for good service exists, and where giving good service to internal as well as ultimate, external customers is considered a natural way of life and one of the most important norms by everyone.
Service culture can be built in an organization only by a sustained and consistent effort over and extended period. It cannot be introduced by top management diktats only. Building of service culture requires sustained attention to:
- Hiring right people
- Retaining the best people
- Developing the people to deliver service quality
- Providing needed support system to people
Ziethalm,V.A. and Bitner J.L. 2003, Services Marketing, Third Edition, Tata McGraw-Hill, New Delhi.
Service cultures differ from organization to organization. Culture includes values, beliefs, norms, rituals, etc. Any policy, procedure, action or inaction on the part of an organization and its employees contribute to service culture. Employees can play key roles in communicating a company's culture to its customers. Examples include: employee dress code, interactions with customers, service provider's knowledge, skill, and attitude.
Companies develop vastly different service cultures depending on their industry, product, size, business model, etc. The culture is usually set and communicated by top executives.
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