The Importance of Maintaining Service Standards

standards

Two years ago, VIDA’s leadership team took a step back to decide how they wanted to define their company culture. This was important, as the company had grown from one location to six, making culture and standards more difficult to maintain company-wide.

“We knew that customer service was one of the pillars of our company, but it was important to us to standardize what that meant to us and communicate those standards with our team and with our members,” said Tara Sampson, the marketing director of VIDA. “We believe at VIDA that we are here to make your life better, and our service standards support that mission.”

To maintain customer service standards and culture across all six locations, Sampson said education and training are key. Each month, a “Company Culture Orientation” is held for new hires. This gives them the chance to learn about VIDA’s “why,” in addition to the mission and vision. Plus, during the “Monthly Kick Off Meeting,” management teams from each location share best practices and participate in team-building activities.

According to Sampson, having a strong culture has helped VIDA maintain a high standard of service, which is extremely important when working with consumers armed with Yelp reviews, Google searches and word of mouth. “If you don’t have great customer service, you are going to struggle on all of these forums and your business will reflect those struggles,” she said. “I believe that you have to provide exceptional customer service for survival, and now the name of the game is how to wow your customers in a way that gets them talking about you in their communities. That takes a lot more effort and strategy than just making sure your team is prompt, professional and polite.”

To ensure standards are maintained on a continual basis, part of VIDA’s company culture revolves around “Continuous Improvement.” According to Sampson, this applies to VIDA’s facilities, programs and teams. “We hire people who want to learn, grow and improve,” she said. “We have many ways that we solicit feedback from members and this dialogue fuels many of our coachable moments.”

For example, VIDA uses Medallia to manage its Net Promoter Score. The surveys given to customers by Medallia allows VIDA to expose teams to the perception of members, good or bad, and allows them to dedicate time and resources to the things that matter most to members.

“We also recently just rolled out a call tracker software that allows us to record incoming calls and our front desk’s management of those calls,” continued Sampson. “This has been enormously helpful in coaching our desk to respond appropriately and exposing areas that need improvement, or areas where they are shining and we can show them some love.”

When it comes to maintaining standards, whether you have one location, six or more, Sampson said communication is paramount. “We have to have open and transparent communication with our teams to improve, and as a company that is still growing, our ability to scale and still maintain our standards is dependent on it,” she said.

Tips for Maintaining Standards Across Multiple Locations:

  1. Meet frequently with teammates that work at different locations, or those you don’t see often. “I think spending time with the teams from all locations helps us to standardize our expectations and also prevents anyone from feeling cut off from the rest.”
  2. Hire for a culture fit: “[Maintaining standards] is easiest when you hire the people who believe what you believe and are truly bought into your mission and vision. Hiring for culture is essential in providing consistent customer service.”
  3. Empower your employees. “We ‘gut check’ all decisions against our philosophy and our team knows that they are empowered to go above and beyond to make a member’s day or help ingrain them in our community.”

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