Implementing Service Standards
All employees should be aware of the standards and how they affect job responsibilities. There are several ways to implement the service standards across the company, including:
- Incorporating them in job descriptions.
- Making them part of new employee orientations.
- Providing ongoing training.
- Including them in annual goals for performance reviews.
Service Standards and Job Descriptions
One key element to the successful implementation of service standards is to incorporate them into job descriptions. New employees will be aware of service expectations from the beginning if the standards are built into the job duties. Some examples of job descriptions that include service standards are:
- Answers customer calls courteously and in a timely manner.
- Understands the product or service and appeals to potential customers by accurately answering questions and offering information.
- Resolves product or service problems by clarifying the customer's complaint, determining the cause of the problem, selecting and explaining the best solution to solve the problem, and following up to ensure resolution.
As you are creating or revising job descriptions, review the service standards document and incorporate each of the standards into the job description. The standards should also be incorporated into interview questions for use during the hiring process.
Service Standards and Employee Orientations
Activities during new employee orientation can be structured around the service standards. All new employees should be given a copy of the standards document followed by discussions of the standards and how they will be used to evaluate performance throughout the employee's tenure at the job.
Mentorship programs are good ways to help new employees understand and follow the service standards.
- Mentors can show the new hires how to follow the standards.
- Mentors can coach new hires if they are having difficulty understanding how they work.
- Mentors are also instrumental in monitoring the performance of new employees during their first few weeks on the job.
Service Standards and Ongoing Training
One of the barriers to successful implementation of the service standards is lack of commitment by employees. In order to ensure commitment, it is important to keep the service standards in front of employees at all times, not just in the interview and orientation process.
By implementing an ongoing training process that focuses on the service standards, the company shows the employees that it is committed to the standards. Some possibilities for ongoing training are:
- Quarterly training sessions focusing on particular standards or refresher sessions reviewing all the standards.
- Semiannual review and updating sessions where the standards are revised if necessary.
- Role-play activities at monthly meetings focusing on one or two of the key standards.
Service Standards and Performance Reviews
Another way to gain employee commitment to the standards is to incorporate them into annual goals that will be used in the performance review process. Some examples of annual goals that include service standards are:
- Prepare a minimum of six service reports by collecting and analyzing customer information.
- Contribute to team efforts by participating in a minimum of four service team activities.
- Open a minimum of nine new customer accounts by updating account information accurately and completely.
- Maintain all customer records in the company's database by updating account information as new information is collected.
Performance goals that are tied to the service standards will encourage employees to continually review and monitor the standards. Service standards that are incorporated throughout the company's procedure will help ensure consistent behavior and service throughout the company. Employee expectations will be clearly understood by employees when they are part of every step in the employee hiring and management process:
- The initial job description posting.
- The orientation process.
- Ongoing training activities.
- The performance review process.