Customer Service Mission: The One Statement Employees must Know

Customer Service Mission: The One Statement Employees must Know

When we start working with a consulting client and tell them the first place we start is creating a customer service vision statement, they say, "The last thing we need is another statement. We have mission statements, purpose statements, and our employees can't even keep them straight."

Good businesses have evolved away from lengthy, wordy mission statements that no employee can recite, much less remember. 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.

While every company needs strong, inspiring mission and purpose statements, they are results, not actions. For example, if 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. Let's look at two great mission statements.

  • Starbucks (mission): "To inspire and nurture the human spirit--one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time."
  • Another Broken Egg Cafe (mission): "It is the mission of Another Broken Egg of America, Inc. to be the world's best breakfast, brunch and lunch cafe, delivering guest satisfaction beyond your expectations with a warm and friendly smile in a clean and relaxing family atmosphere. It is our commitment to deliver "Egg" ceptional food and exemplary service creating a unique and memorable experience."

Both of those are strong mission statements and do excite people about the impact they can eventually have. I believe mission and purpose statements should be shared and discussed at orientation, posted on walls, even displayed on the company's website. I think employees should be familiar with them, but I do not think it is realistic for them to remember word-for-word your mission, purpose, and customer service vision statements, and that is totally okay.

Customer service vision

Think of a mission statement for a professional football team (certainly not the Cleveland Browns this year!). Is it to win the Super Bowl? However, "Let's win the Super Bowl! Ready? Break!" is not what the offense or defense says in the huddle. Winning the Super Bowl is a result, not the action. The customer service vision statement is the actionable play. It is the one statement I want every employee in the organization to be able to recite and know backward and forward.

The customer service vision provides a meaningful purpose for your employees--and is what every employee, regardless of department, level, or pay grade, must deliver to every customer, every time. 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. Let's look at the same two companies' customer service vision statements:

  • Starbucks: We create inspired moments in each customer's day.
  • Another Broken Egg Cafe: Happy People Sharing Happiness.

Make sure your customer service vision statement is actionable, measurable, observable, and trainable. 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/No, they did/did not achieve our customer service vision statement."

John R. DiJulius III is the author of The Customer Service Revolution and president of The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm whose clients include Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, The Ritz-Carlton, Nestle, PwC, Lexus, and many more. Email him at

Published: May 12th, 2016

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