It is important for every organization to have mission and purpose statements. They serve as guides when it comes to decision-making and alignment, and ultimately, for the highest level of service. Nonetheless, it is important for a business to understand the differences and benefits of mission, purpose, and customer experience action statements (formerly known as customer service vision statements).
Customer Service Statement Overload
When we start working with a consulting client and tell them the first order of business is creating a customer experience action statement, they typically say, “The last thing we need is another statement. We have mission statements and purpose statements, and our employees can’t even keep them straight!”
Savvy 21st-century businesses have evolved away from lengthy, wordy mission statements that no employee can recite verbatim. Today it is okay to have three major company statements, provided it’s clear as to how they differ and how your employees need to decipher them.
Company Mission and Purpose Statements are NOT the Same
Each is a strong statement that excites people about the impact they can eventually have on both company spirit and quality of customer service. I believe mission and purpose statements should be shared and discussed at the orientation. These statements should be posted on walls and even displayed on the company’s website.
Employees should be familiar with them. However, I do not think it is realistic for them to remember word-for-word. That is okay.
Keys to a Great Company Mission Statement
A mission statement is simple yet valuable to any company and a fundamental part of its company values. It keeps an organization aligned to its goals. This statement ultimately explains why a certain organization exists. It serves as the foundation and focus point for everyone.
The mission is the “What” and “How” of the business. Here are pointers to creating a purposeful mission statement:
IT SHOULD BE CLEAR AND CONCISE.
You do not need to create long paragraphs to define the mission of your company. A great mission statement is straightforward. It can be easily understood by everyone in the organization.
An ambiguous, difficult-to-remember mission statement will cause misalignment among your team.
IT SHOULD TELL WHAT YOU DO.
Part of the mission is a clear definition of what your business does. One example is “providing affordable websites to small and medium-sized enterprises”.
IT IS ABOUT HOW YOU DO IT.
This talks about your strategy. For example, part of Feeding America’s mission statement is “through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.”
IT TELLS WHO YOU DO IT FOR.
One example is Make-A-Wish International, “to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions”.
IT TALKS ABOUT THE VALUE YOU ARE OFFERING.
Your statement should also include the benefits that your company provides. Some examples are “healthy organic food”, “affordable high-quality website”, and “world-class customer experience training”.
Keys to a Great Company Purpose Statement
A purpose statement is entirely different from the mission statement. Both guide the organization. However, the mission tells the specifics of the business.
The purpose statement, on the other hand, goes beyond. Why does a company do what it does? Why does an organization decide the way it does?
The purpose statement is the “Why”. It ultimately defines your goals. Why do you commit to your mission? What is your customer service philosophy?
Here are the keys to a great purpose statement:
IT INSPIRES THE TEAM.
What makes you get up in the morning? A great purpose statement is like fuel. It inspires everyone in the organization to do their mission. It drives them to get going, especially in times of challenges.
IT TELLS WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN.
The purpose statement not only answers the “Why” questions. It includes the core values of your company. What values do you believe in and uphold?
Most businesses have the following core values: integrity, commitment, accountability, joy, passion, and empathy.
IT GIVES YOU IDENTITY.
The purpose statement is what can set you apart from others. It gives your organization identity. It allows you to reflect on who you are.
IT CREATES AN IMPACT ON OTHERS.
The mission statement outlines whom you do it for. Meanwhile, the purpose defines why you do it for them. What impact do you want to create?
IT HELPS YOU IDENTIFY DEALBREAKERS.
Having a guiding purpose statement allows you to clearly see what is negotiable and what is not. What is not aligned with your values? That is considered a dealbreaker. It is something that you want your organization not to waste time and resources on.
Having a purpose statement not only inspires people within the organization. It should also include the impact that you want to create on the lives of other people.
Does an Actionable Company Mission Statement Exist?
In a word, no. While every company needs a strong, inspiring mission and purpose statement, they speak to results, not actions. Let’s say that your mission is to be the #1 financial institution in the world. What does that tell a bank teller or loan officer to do today as they interact with each customer? Even the greatest mission and purpose statements are not actionable by employees.
Examples of great company mission statements include:
- Kickstarter – To help bring creative projects to life.
- Starbucks – To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
- John Robert’s Spa – To enhance the quality of lives around us.
- Uber – We ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion.
- Squarespace – Squarespace empowers people with creative ideas to succeed.
- Honest Tea – Create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.
- Facebook – To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
- TED – Spread ideas.
- Walmart – We save people money so they can live better.
- The DiJulius Group – Changing the world by creating a customer service revolution.
The Customer Experience Action Statement, Explained
Now, what is the customer experience action statement? It tells exactly what type of customer service you want your company to provide to its customers.
Think of a mission statement for a professional football team (certainly not the Cleveland Browns). Is it to win the Super Bowl? However, that is not what the offense or defense says in the huddle: “Let’s win the Super Bowl, ready break.”
Winning the Super Bowl is a result, not the action. The customer experience action statement is the actionable play. This is the one statement I want every employee in the organization to be able to recite and know backwards and forwards.
The Customer Service Vision is what each and every employee–regardless of department, level, or pay grade–has to deliver to every Customer every time. It is what provides a meaningful purpose for your employees.
The Customer Service Vision never gets shared with the outside public, i.e., Customers. It is only to be marketed to the employees. It is the one thing that gets them out of bed in the morning and racing to work.
Keys to a Great Customer Experience Action Statement
Make sure your customer experience action statement has each key characteristic:
IT IS ACTIONABLE.
The statement must be so easily understood that it can be translated into action by everyone in the organization. It is the basis that tells how to deliver customer service. To help achieve that, it can outline specific action steps.
IT IS MEASURABLE.
What can be improved in how we deal with customers? Which of our strategies works well and increases customer loyalty? What should we keep doing?
When customer service ground rules are implemented, the statement should be able to help the organization evaluate its performance and quality of service. It is the guideline on how to measure customer service success.
IT IS OBSERVABLE.
This means that you can actually watch an employee interact with a customer face-to-face, read their email, or listen to them on a call and be able to say, “Yes, they did achieve our customer experience action statement,” or “No, there are areas for improvement”.
IT IS TRAINABLE.
Can everyone in the organization learn this? A customer experience action statement should be realistic. It should be practical and actionable so that it can be learned within the company.
Aside from laying the basics that have to be mastered, there should also be space for innovation. This means that it must be able to keep up with changing times, technologies, and customer trends.
How Will Your Organization Benefit?
Any company can benefit from having a great customer experience action statement:
- It helps your company stand out from the rest.
- It provides direction to your entire organization.
- It shapes your relationship with your customers.
- You gain loyal customers from repeat business.
- It increases sales.
- It captivates partners and stakeholders.
- It creates a positive company culture in which your employees feel recognized for providing an excellent customer service experience.
- More satisfied customers mean more referrals.
The customer experience action statement is the North Star for every employee in your organization, a CTA of intention for each interaction employees have with your customers. Unlike a mission, vision, or purpose statement, it is all about what to do NOW. And it is a game-changer.
Contact The DiJulius Group today for a complimentary call on how we can help you create your Customer Experience Action Statement and improve your organization’s Customer Service and Customer Experience.