As I travel the globe, people ask me: which country is best at providing service? Which country has the world’s best service providers and the world’s best service culture?

That’s a tough question to answer because it’s the wrong question. Quality of service is decided by the person being served, not the person providing the service. So the answer is never an absolute.

To get close to an answer, we must first define what we mean by service. We know that service is taking action to create value for someone else. So the question isn’t who provides the best service? The question becomes, who creates the best value? And here’s where things get interesting, because different people value different things.

Imagine this scenario: An American family is dining at a pub in England. The family is chatty and outgoing, because that’s part of their gregarious American culture. Their waiter is English, and is naturally quieter and more reserved, because that’s his English culture.

The American family may be disappointed with the waiter’s seeming lack of engagement and openness while he serves them. On the other hand, the waiter may think that he has provided sophisticated and cordial customer service.

The purpose of this scenario is to show that providing service is not enough to create the best value. Rather, the action must also take into account the preferences and expectations of the person being served.

So we must also ask: Who is it that you are serving? What does that person want, need, expect? What do they appreciate, and what turns them on, and off? How can we surprise or delight that person by going above and beyond their expectations?

Once we know the answers to those questions, then we can take action to provide truly uplifting service.

So rather than asking which country provides the best service, we should be asking many other questions to get a better answer:

  • Which country is the most sensitive to other people’s needs?
  • Who is most curious about what other people value?
  • Which culture is best at keeping other people’s needs and wants always top of mind?

The country that creates the best value is the one that always keeps the needs and expectations of other people top of mind. The service providers in that country look for opportunities to create new value, solve more problems, and seeking out moments to WOW! other people.

This way of thinking applies everywhere: in large companies, in departments within those companies, in small businesses, and in our one-on-one interactions. This way of thinking also applies to service leaders, to service providers, and throughout national service cultures.

This also applies to you: how can you best take action to create more value for someone else? Are you perfecting your service activities into habits of service excellence? Are you keeping in mind the people you serve and focusing on what they value?

Watch Ron Kaufman on video discussing this topic.

About Ron Kaufman:

Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivational customer service keynote speaker for uplifting service and building service cultures. Author of the New York Times Bestseller ‘Uplifting Service’ and rated as one of the World’s Top 25 “Who’s Hot” keynote speakers, Ron Kaufman is also the founder and chairman of UP! Your Service, a global service training and consulting company.