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Where are Your Customer Service Standards?

  
  
  
  

describe the imageIf you find your customers are regularly complaining about your level of service, it’s time to take another look at how this important department is operating. In some cases, the problem may not lie with the CSRs; instead, it may be the result of undefined or nonexistent service standards that leave employees unsure of where to set the bar.

By instituting a clear and measurable set of customer service standards, you can ensure your service level will raise and become more consistent across the board. Here are some things to consider as you go forward in creating customer service standards for your business.

What’s the Point?

The standards that you set for your customer service should reflect the values of your business. For example, a fast food establishment may have very different customer service standards than a corporate computer service that provides technology tools to a range of commercial customers. When you begin to brainstorm customer service standards, consider the following factors:

• Timeliness – How fast does your service need to be to be competitive in your industry? That fast food establishment might place a high emphasis on quick service, while the computer service may rank quality over quantity in terms of the number of customers served.

• Accuracy – Customer service needs to be accurate, but accuracy may be defined one way at a financial institution and completely differently at a car dealership. In one case, accuracy may be determined by whether the transaction was done correctly, while the other might focus more on the accuracy of meeting the customer’s specific needs.

• Appropriateness – This rather intangible factor has to do with how well the customer’s expectations are met. Again, the specifics of appropriateness will be determined in large part by the type of industry, product and customer.

• Measurability – Standards are only effective if they can be accurately measured. In addition to setting standards, create guidelines for how you will monitor them and analyze the results. This data can be used to pinpoint problem areas and reward those who consistently maintain the standards in your business.

Benefits of Implementing Standards

Once you have determined the best customer service standards to set for your business, you must communicate those standards to your customer service team. To ensure the new guidelines are received positively, it is helpful to outline the benefits of having such standards to your employees. Some of the benefits of customer service standards include:

• More consistency in service levels by making expectations clear
• The ability to provide the proper tools to help employees achieve the standards set
• The necessary data to evaluate current customer service quality
• Information that helps pinpoint problem areas in service so corrections can be made
• An environment where rewards can be given based on whether standards are reached and maintained

Any customer service department should have a quantifiable, measurable set of standards so employees know what is expected. These standards become a core feature in your corporate identity and the means to ensure your customer service is consistently at the highest possible level.

- Meredith Estep

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