Loss Prevention Headquarters (LPHQ) has a member service syllabus.1 Use it to decide what your Member Service Officers (MSOs) need to know to effectively serve your membership.
LPHQ emphasizes planning and minimises the importance of a “plan,” but this is an exception: a member service plan is crucial.
Why The Difference?
Member service extends the social mission your organisation is formed to support. You can plan for this: being social is (or should be) part of your culture. You should not need to analyse much (or anything), everyone your organisation reaches deserves courtesy, and you decide what’s important for your MSOs to know.
Your Courtesy Book
A courtesy book deals with interpersonal communications2, behaviour and morals. A courtesy book is the foundation of your MSO curriculum. More often called a book of manners today, your courtesy book makes decisions about only two matters:
- What your member can expect from your MSO, and
- What you expect from your MSO.
Planning MSO Empowerment.
Here is an exception to the exception:
- There is no such thing as an MSO empowerment plan
Service expectations change over time. Your courtesy book must be flexible, but it must also be a plan: not much should change; expectations are one thing, your organisation’s dedication to its mission is another. Conduct is an expectation; even the very smallest organisations must decide what these expectations are.
What To Teach Your Member Service Officers.
In 1744, when he was about 16, George Washington copied a Jesuit manual on eqtiquette as a handwriting exercise. The manual, written in the late 16th C., rings true to moderns. LPHQ has used modern English to re-interpret these rules of civility.
I want to stress that President Washington wrote these rules as a handwriting exercise. Writing what someone else has written is an effective learning tool. The hand copies while the eye remembers each word. This is an effective way to learn and master content.
Every MSO must know your courtesy book by rote. They must able to randomly cite it — and they must know what courtesy policy applies in each situation they encounter. Only if in doubt should they refer a member service issue to a higher authority.
2. Another word for this type of interpersonal communications? “Etiquette.”↩