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The mission statement of your company embodies the customer experience you offer. It is nothing less than a promise you are making to your customers and yourself. If you can’t keep promises you make to yourself, your customers will never trust you with the promises you make to them.
Because your mission statement is so important to your company and its values, it isn’t something you should outsource to a marketing firm or pay someone else to write. You need to be able to describe your own mission statement, instead of having someone else put it into words for you.
So how do you write a good mission statement, one that holds true to the customer experience you’re striving to offer?
You need to have a passion for what you’re doing. It may sound cliché, but passion drives your mission statement.
It’s easy to tell when someone is passionate about what they do: when a teacher loves being in the classroom, when a doctor enjoys helping patients, and when a store owner loves sharing his or her knowledge with customers. We can all agree that interacting with someone who’s passionate about what they do makes for a better customer experience.
Make It Simple to Understand
As Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen argues in Competing Against Luck, many mission statements are so complex that even company employees find them hard to understand.
This is a huge issue. You need your employees to understand, commit to, and believe in your mission statement. Your mission statement must be practical and simple to understand. Write it in everyday language and ensure it reflects the job your customers are hiring you to do (part of what Christensen calls his “Jobs Theory”).
Give It Meaning
A “meaningful” mission statement is one that you and your employees are more likely to commit to and act on. A meaningful mission statement gives their work meaning, which motivates them to be more engaged with your customers, in turn offering your customers a better experience.
The best mission statements are ones that impact one (or all) of three areas:
- The self
- A group of people or the community
- Society, the environment, or the world
The more meaning you can instill into your mission statement, the more likely it will be that your employees will stick to it. Your customer experience will undoubtedly improve as a result.
You’ve worked hard to create just the right mission statement, one that’s practical and simple to understand. One that accomplishes the job customers want you to do. One that motivates employees and impacts the community or the world as a whole. However, all that hard work will be for naught if you don’t actually follow through on your mission statement.
If your customer sees that you can’t follow through on your mission statement, you’ve lost one of the most important pieces of your customer relationship: trust. Be committed to delivering the experience you’ve promised. If you mess up along the way (every company does), own up to the mistakes you’ve made and use them to motivate your follow-through even more.
You’ve made a promise to your customers. Now, deliver on it.
Guest Post: Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.