Lessons on Customer Service: Standards Your Business Must Have

I am always asked by former colleagues and friends of mine what Kaiz and I do in Customer Experience Measurement or CEM. Mainly, they think that it has only to do with mystery shopping. But this blog post really sums it up. It’s setting the standard for your business. customer standard

The blog title is “Customer Service: Standards Your Business Must Have.” And I could go on in a checklist fashion ticking off customer service tips like shortening wait times, personalizing greetings over the phone, demeanor, punctuality, and hygiene. But I’ll just boil it down to a one-item laundry list:

The first and only standard that your business must have is it must have standards. That’s it, and it’s different for every business.

Answering the phone in three rings is standard for some businesses. Does that mean it should be standard in all? Acknowledging a customer by his or her given name is a standard in coffee shops. Does that mean your company needs to train staff to do so?

To be able to inspire great customer service, standards must make sense in context of the entire organization. Firstly, your company must have a leading principle, a credo or mission-vision (or an ethos, as I like to say). That ethos must be real, not just to you, but also to your management, and to your employees. If they don’t buy-in, all your trainings and memos, and incentives will go to waste.

Within your organization, you are never alone. Even if you are the CFO, CMO, CIO and HR all at the same time, you cannot dictate every single procedure. You could, but without consulting and agreeing with your staff on what can and cannot be done, you will be CEO six feet under.

Ideals on running your business are needed, but cooperation of your stakeholders is needed more. A business only runs as well as your team runs together. At the very least, peg your ideals high, but do two things: first, consult with key leaders from each department. How feasible are your ideals?; second, assess your ideals with fairness, and adapt.

Of course, nobody got to the top of the business by sacrificing ideals for expediency. But when it comes to customer service, because you are training your front line to veil business issues (service satisfaction, repurchase, product inquiries) with appropriate and sincere human responses (assurances, showing concern, service with a smile), it’s essential that your standards are based on human ability and organizational sense.

Are your customer service principles failing or doing well? Do you have enough days for thorough training? Do your different departments enter conflict when settling customer request tickets? Is your staff helpless when customers make inquiries?

There could be a number of factors that indirectly affect customer service. To get to the bottom of that, SatisFIND’s Customer Experience Measurement submits more than just a tally of ‘Was this done’ versus ‘No, this wasn’t done.’ It’s more than picking out the bad apples and counting the rings of the phone and the staff behind the counter. Customer Experience Measurement provides a look at your business that you might have never seen before, providing feedback that brings everyone on the same level to move forward.

Customer Experience Measurement causes us to check off one item from our list first: ‘What are your standards?’ and we go from there.

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