World-Class Courtesy

A Best Practices Report

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This report is intended as a best practices guide to world-class courtesy. The organizations studied and visited demonstrated to the team numerous characteristics of world-class courtesy at work.

In brief, the team's methodology in preparing this report was divided into four segments: (1) secondary research, (2) primary research, (3) collection and organization, and (4) final report preparation.

A kick-off meeting for all participating federal agencies was held at the study's outset and speakers from The Ritz-Carlton and the Social Security Administration discussed the important role courtesy plays in their organizations. General guidance from the National Performance Review staff and the report team leaders regarding the report's objectives, projected time lines, and expected level of commitment were also discussed.

This best practices report is a means of determining which businesses­public and private­are doing the best job in the specific area of courtesy, and then assessing the performance gap between the best-in-class organizations and your own. You should then create action plans to move your organization toward-and beyond-the best-in-class organizations.


The following questionnaire was used to gather data from the best-in-class organizations identified during our primary research phase.

National Performance Review Field Questionnaire: World-Class Courtesy

Name of your organization:_______________________________________________________

Approximate number of employees: ________________________

Employee unions? Yes No (Please circle the appropriate answer)

Name and telephone number of contact person for this questionnaire:_______________________

1. Have you ever been asked by another organization or group to discuss your views on the concept of "courtesy"? Yes No

2. Is the concept of "courtesy" stated in your organization's mission statement or some other document that directly relates to your organization's objectives? Yes No

If yes, would you please name this document(s), and, if possible, fax a copy to us?

3. Does your organization have a definition that pertains to the concept of "courtesy"?

Yes No

If yes, would you share it with us in the space below?

4. Does your organization describe in some document the manner in which employees are expected to treat their fellow employees? Yes No

If yes, could you fax a copy of this document to us?

5. Do you look for particular qualities when hiring that relate to a person's ability to successfully interact with customers? Yes No

If yes, would you briefly describe your selection method(s), including those traits you look for in potential employees?

6. Do you provide training to employees regarding "courtesy"? Yes No

If yes, would you please describe the type and frequency of training provided?

7. Who designs the content of your training?

8. How do you measure the effectiveness of your training efforts?

9. Can you approximate the percentage of your total training budget that deals directly with improving courtesy to customers? _____%

10. Are you able to measure (either directly or indirectly) the impact your organization's emphasis on courtesy has on the profit margin? Yes No

If yes, could you briefly state how this is done?

11. Do you use any of the following feedback mechanisms?

Customer surveys ______

Employee surveys ______

Customer focus groups __________

Employee focus groups __________

Customer complaint/feedback system ______

Employee complaint/feedback system ______

360-degree performance rating system ______

Other (please list)_____________________________________

If possible, would you fax us a copy of any of the above-mentioned surveys?

12. How would you define your organization's leadership style?

13. How do you feel the leadership style in your organization contributes to an environment that promotes courteous behavior?

14. What employee empowerment strategies do you use to ensure courteous behavior? We're specifically interested in how you empower your front-line employees when dealing with the customer.

15. What types of employee rewards and incentives are used in your organization to promote courteous behavior?

16. How are you able to determine if your rewards and incentives programs are effective?

17. Please describe briefly any "lessons learned" that would help us better understand the subject of customer or employee courtesy.

18. Please use the space below to include any other thoughts or comments you may have regarding the concept of "courtesy" or this questionnaire.

Thank you for completing this questionnaire.

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