Service Square – Service with a Heart

At Service Square we experimented, ever since our inception, with a few taglines to accompany our Logo. At first, it was – No headaches. Then for sometime, it was – Live a lot easier. Recently, an ad consultant coined – The Clean People.

They are all intelligent taglines, but there was no resonance, they did not quite fit the story of Service Square. They did not define our essence.

I am a big fan of Mission and Vision statements, company values, tag lines and USP’s. If these are not thrust upon but evolved through a participative process among the employees, they assume a vibrant potency. They define an organisation and endow it with certain character and culture.

For employees and customers alike, an organisation’s identity is of crucial importance. Identity and culture etc., are born out of the belief systems, the values and the way these are practiced in the everyday life of the organisation. At  a fundamental level customers and employees would gravitate towards us for what we are rather than what we have. The trust factor rather than the range of services or even quality is what determines an ongoing relationship with customers.

It is like looking for a partner in life. Some go for what the partner has – the house, the colour, the height, the money…. The discerning ones go for the content of character.

What we are is about purpose, meaning and answers the question why.

In a very powerful Ted talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, Simon Sinek, says:
“The goal is not to sell to people who need what you have; the goal is to sell to people who believe what you believe.” Customers would choose us not necessarily because of what we have, the discerning ones would do so because they believe what we believe.

How wonderful it would be to have customers who would be proud to belong to our tribe with values we hold dear!

Every now and then, we discussed with our core group in our office about what we are and what we represent. Trusted expertise, great customer care, experiences in service, a smile inside and a smile outside….. were some of the phrases that were bandied about. Everyone in the group was convinced, what distinguishes us from the rest is the feeling with which we do everything. So, almost every time we provide a service, customers are delighted and at times even overwhelmed by the service experience. Yes, there is a world of difference between providing an experience and making a transaction.

Around then, I re-read this favourite quote of mine by Carlos Castaneda. “A path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you . . . Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself alone, one question . . . Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use.”

This time, when I came to the question, “Does this path have a heart?” , something tugged at my heart, a connection clicked into place and knew the tagline was hiding in that question.

That is how we came to Service with a heart for our tagline. When we looked at it, we felt good and knew that service with a heart is the path we have traversed and will travel on, in future. We recognized ourselves in those words, it told our story. And the search ended there.

At this stage, I asked my friend Rahul Vitekar how the tagline sounded. When I explained to him how we arrived at this he too felt the words resonated well. He suggested that we bounce this off a few customers.

Experts say, the characteristics of a good tagline are, its simplicity, telling our story, explaining our offering, communicating with clarity and describing who we are. Service with a heart answers these parameters and it rings so true to me.

Service with a heart means being passionate about our work and our customers. It means continuous improvement, learning, stretching and yes, loving what we do and the customers we do it for.

The thought crossed my mind this morning, in order to provide service with a heart, everyone in the company must exhibit qualities of the heart in what they do at our customers’ place. This cannot be manufactured, it can only be carefully nurtured in an organisation. There are a number of things that I can do to create the conditions for the sprouting of the heart factor in our work.

One is to create awareness of the tagline through various ways and communicating the essence of this message in our interactions with staff, so it sinks in deep.

I have heard that love is a recipe, where every small gesture and big actions help in the blossoming of a relationship.  Similarly, cleverly designed processes and systems can aid our team to perform every service with enthusiasm  as they pore over every aspect of their work with meticulous care, every step of the way.

We are fortunate that the existence of the values of the organisation (Quality, Commitment, Value for money, Honesty & Timely service) makes it easier for the teams to practice the art of providing service with a heart.

Overriding all the above factors, what really matters is how I show up with qualities of the heart in everything I think, say or do. Without my knowledge, I am being watched by everyone out here.

It is so very simple…….. just be the change I want to see.

It is a huge challenge as well – to be engrossed in the work, care for our staff and customers tirelessly – exactly as I would nurture relationships I really care for.

Service with a heart  is not a marketing gimmick. It is for real.

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