How Culture Drives Customer Service

Written by Albert Mandizvidza on .


This short note looks at organisational culture as a facilitator of service excellence.

Customer service is focused on meeting or exceeding the expectations of the customer consistently. It is a key competitive advantage in most industries and sectors. There is a lot of literature trying to quantify in monetary terms the cost and or benefits of customer service in organisations. There are also a lot of cases where organisations become very successful mainly by employing effective customer services and likewise organisations that collapsed mainly due to poor service.

Service is directly linked to three main components, the environment, the company and the individual. The Macro and market environment dictate to a larger scale the service culture of a nation or region, for example in highly competitively environments there is a tendency to offer higher quality of service as players jostle for customers, whereas in monopolistic environments customers have limited options hence tendencies towards poor service from organisations. The same applies to times of scarcity or increased demand.

From the organisational perspective, culture, which is shared part of thought and action that distinguishes one group from another, plays an equally important role. Organisational culture includes the shared norms of the organisation, these could be visible or “under the iceberg" as described by Torben Rick, an organisational culture expert. Norms are essentially expectations on how persons in a group or organisation should behave, what attitudes they should express and how they should appear, Dipboye et al (1994). Behavior and attitude are crucial for service culture. Organisations go to the length of developing customer service policies, charters, and standards and adopts various customer service certifications and norms in a bid to entrench customer service among their employees.