Creating Customer Service Standards from Best Practices

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Creating Customer Service Standards from Best Practices

Creating Customer Service Standards from Best Practices

Best practices in customer service will vary by industry, but there are some broad practices that can be applied to all industries:

  1. Service with a smile. While this might sound old or even trite, smiling when serving customers can make a big difference in the customer's perception of the company.
  2. Listening to the customer. Truly listening to what the customer is saying and showing the customer you have heard and understood him or her shows that you care about the customer's ideas and opinions.
  3. Empathizing with the customer. Being sincere when using empathic statements such as "I am sorry you had this experience," or "I understand how you feel." will go a long way toward creating a connection with the customer.

When establishing the best practices for your customers:

  1. Consider the standard best practices listed above.
  2. Review your company's mission and vision. The mission will help you focus on the results you wish to achieve with the standards. For example, if the mission of the company is to grow the company by offering an excellent product and creating excellent customer relationships, your standards must all track back to that mission in order to help achieve both the standards and the mission.

Once you have developed a list of best practices that make sense for your company, it is time to create a series of service standards that can be used throughout the company to ensure a satisfactory customer service experience. Standards are similar to goals in that they share some of the same characteristics:

  1. Specific. A standard must be clearly written and specific enough that everyone understands it.
  2. Measurable. There must be some kind of measurement included in the standard in order to know if the standard is being met.
  3. Attainable. The standard must be challenging enough to make employees work to meet it, but not so challenging that it is impossible to meet.
  4. Relevant. The relevancy of the standard will be determined by how it tracks to the company's vision and/or mission.

As an example of creating a service standard from a best practice, with the mission stated above (to grow the company by offering an excellent product and creating excellent customer relationships) in mind, let's look at the generic best practice, Service with a Smile. In order to make this specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant, we might write it like this:

Calls will be answered courteously with a smile within three rings whenever possible.

The standard states specifically how calls will be answered, and is measurable (within three rings), realistic, and attainable. Finally, it is relevant to the mission statement in that it is intended to provide a satisfactory service experience.