Committing to the Service Culture

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Home > Articles > Committing to the Service Culture

 Committing to the Service Culture

Seow Bee Leng | Today's Manager
December 2, 2019

A strong service culture leads to sustained cocreation and continuous learning from your customer experiences as well as a sustainable competitive advantage for organisations.

"Congratulations and welcome to the organisation Congratulations and welcome to the organisation! Well done! We are looking forward to your first day with us as we work to serve with joy and pride. Out of hundreds who have applied to join us and after a series of stringent tests and exercises, you have been selected and this should be accompanied by a sense of humility and responsibility. Approaching your vocation as a service professional with this in mind will stand you in good stead in the days and years to come.”

You receive a welcome letter and opening address on your first day at work. What does the organisation’s reputation for service and its commitment to excellence mean to you? You now have an opportunity to contribute to the legendary tradition of service and to ensure that the organisation continues to provide differentiated service. Are you ready to rise to the challenge of reflecting all these service qualities?

We Want To!
A service culture exists when you motivate the employees in your organisation to embrace customer-centricity in their service roles and regular work activities. For such service culture, the organisation’s commitment to instilling in all service staff a passion for service is crucial. Companies provide similar services and facilities to their customers. Customers of today have a wider choice of service providers to choose from. How then can the organisation maintain its competitive advantage? How can the organisation motivate previous and existing customers to continue to make them their first choice? If the company is to stand out from its competitors, it is its people who make the difference.

A service culture involves training and rewarding an organisation’s employees for creating a culture that puts customers first. We believe that it is with this passion of service and the investment in the continued growth of the staff that the team can continue to set even higher standards in service. A training path to be charted for the different service roles to ensure continual learning. Service professional will benefit from service-related and developmental courses which aim to enhance customer-centricity, communication, social, management, and life skills in general. Practice and discipline will provide you the edge in projecting a professional image.

In an organisation with a service culture, it is never enough to provide excellent service without due consideration for customers’ needs. Instead, the challenge lies in delighting customers by meeting their individual needs and exceeding their expectations. For a start, you are committing to being more than your job title and that is, being an individual with a passion for service! You take on the challenge of giving your best every time, to the customers because you take pride in being a service professional of your organisation. Your actions are observable by the public and will affect the perceptions that people have of the company. Do take care to ensure that the image in the eyes of the public is unblemished by your behaviour.

We are One!
What holds the organisation together? It is a clearly expressed and communicated set of shared values that guides the employees’ daily behaviours, activities, and interaction with each other within the organisation. A strong service culture is one in which all members are on a relentless drive towards achieving consistent and high quality service. To achieve such standards of service, staff needs to first possess the company’s stipulated essential service values like customer-centricity, caring, professional, integrity, respect, warmth, safety, and teamwork to name a few.

The manifestation of values refers to the manner in which these core values are translated into behaviour and action that can be clearly seen. For example, an organisation’s value for teamwork manifestation is “work with pride as a worldwide team to achieve success together.” As members of the service teams in a huge organisation, you will also have to be a team player. The power of “One” is essential, as teamwork is needed to make sure that the service experience is seamless and integrated. Much depends on your initiative and drive to make each customer experience a happy one, not just for customers, but for your fellow colleagues (internal customers).

Each team is made up of a hierarchy of service ranks and different role responsibilities, and respect is expected to be accorded to superiors and staff. Respect for all colleagues is an important ingredient for a superior service culture. All staff needs to be mindful of the diversity of all colleagues and to harness the differences in working together towards the benefit of the company. Respect should also take place between employees at all levels of the organisational hierarchy.

Working in a fast-paced and confined service environment brings with it the stress of coping with many job demands. Being able to cope with these is part of the training in resilience and perseverance for superior service. In the service continuum, an example of action plan to self-check can be:


A personal progress checklist questions will include:

  • Do I have a clear understanding of all the core values of my organisation?
  • Do I believe in these core values?
  • Are my daily actions and behaviours in line with these shared beliefs?

We are Ready!
As the team acknowledges the success, pride, and confidence that they have built up over the years, it is forward-looking to learn continually and innovate ceaselessly so as to be ahead of the competitors at all times. You are part of the team, so be ready to step out and show how proud you are, to contribute to the tradition of success.

As the organisation positions to grow faster, reach further, and attain higher levels of service, the service professionals will have important roles to play. Be strengthened to be better than the best, and the courage to rise to new challenges.


Dr Seow Bee Leng, Service Excellence Evangelist—Continuum Learning Pte Ltd is passionate to serve with love and joy; and empowering others do the same. The adult learners go back to their service work knowing they can make a difference. As part of her social contributions, she started S.A.L.T.—Serve And Learn Together, for great conversations and community engagements. Dr Seow is the author of “To Serve With Love” and “S.E.R.V.E.TM : Empower Yourself, Empower Others and Make a Difference.”


Copyright © 2019 Singapore Institute of Management

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Today's Manager Issue 4, 2019

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