This month I invite you to join me in a little exercise. Not the type of activity that takes place at the gym. That would be a total waste of time and energy as well as an insult to my sedentary lifestyle. Try to recall three instances since January where you received exceptional customer service from a company or business. It could be a store that you physically walked into, a fast food joint your vehicle drove through, a catalog or online store you ordered goods from or an establishment that you spoke to over the formerly ubiquitous but currently antiquated telephone landline.
Once you have identified the companies behind those three stellar customer service experiences, go to your favorite online search engine on the internet (i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, AOL) and type in that company’s name followed by the words mission statement, core values, or creed. Then see what magically appears on your device’s screen. Are you still with me? Now click on some of those links and read the beliefs, core values and mission statements of those companies and businesses. You will find some pretty entertaining stuff. Some of it is profound and inspirational. Some are short, sweet and to the point. Others read like a doctoral thesis or dissertation.
In his article for Chron.com, Stan Mack wrote, “A company’s business creed, or mission statement, is its commitment to achieve a particular goal, behave in a certain way or abide by a fundamental principle. A creed also might be a public definition of a company’s guiding strategy. Often intended to define a corporate culture, a creed can be short and to the point or long and detailed.”1
Here are a few examples of mission statements, creeds or core values that have recently piqued my interest.
Hilton Hotels and Resorts takes each letter in the “Hilton” name and simply calls the document “Our Values:”
We’re passionate about delivering exceptional guest experiences
We do the right thing, all the time
We’re leaders in our industry and in our communities
We’re team players in everything we do
We’re the owners of our actions and decisions
We operate with a sense of urgency and discipline
I have the good fortune of working for BRYAN’S Cleaners & Laundry in Pasadena, California. Scott Bell, the President of the company and also the third-generation owner, installed The BRYAN’S Creed. When first implemented 22 years ago, every employee was required to sign a statement indicating their understanding and willingness to abide by its principles. To this day, all new team members that come on board at BRYAN’S sign the same document we signed 22 years ago and receive a copy of this ten-point manifesto in their hiring packet and employee handbook.
It is our Mission, to strive above the competition.
I am a member of the finest drycleaning and laundry team, dedicated to the highest level of excellence.
I give Bryan’s my best, consistently, since Bryan’s customers expect the best from me all the time.
I pursue an atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork, earning and giving respect to all.
I am proud of my work, as I strive for constant and never ending improvement.
I demand only the best of myself and others, providing our customers with the finest work.
I admit to all my mistakes, and stop problems even when they are not mine, always finding and sharing ways to do things better.
Customers love Bryan’s and the work I do, because I treat every customer as if they were royalty.
When the day is done I know I did my best, steadfast to high standards and confidence in my team, knowing that every garment I touched, will add a smile to someone’s day.
I will strive for this mission, or I will go to work for the competition.
The mission statement of Zappos also referred to by its employees as their “WOW Philosophy” is… “To provide the best customer service possible.” Their mission statement runs in lockstep with the Zappos Family Core Values, which everyone in the company contributes to on an annual basis:
• Deliver WOW Through Service
• Embrace and Drive Change
• Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
• Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-Minded
• Pursue Growth and Learning
• Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
• Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
• Do More With Less
• Be Passionate and Determined
• Be Humble2
Now think about your dry cleaning establishment. When is the last time you took a long, hard look at the core values, creed or mission statement of your business? Are your employees cognizant of your company creed? Do you have a mission statement written down on paper? It is imperative that your mission statement, creed or core values are a real and tangible document that you can hold. Conversely, the words on that very same paper will hold you and your entire team accountable to the very tenets espoused therein.
1Mack, Stan. “What is a Business Creed?”
2Whittemore, Christine B. “What Great Brands Do With Mission Statements: 8 Examples” May 1, 2014