Make a big difference with a little work – Set Service Expectations

Excellent service is important to all of us. It measures our success as professionals. It certainly influences our decision to be a customer.

So how do we make sure it’s happening when each person could have a different interpretation of what “great customer service” actually means?

You’ve all heard me talk about The Six Essential ElementsTM for creating a culture of service. Essential Element 1 is setting service expectations, and it’s number one for a reason. Case in point – imagine a very long stretch of road with no speed limit posted. What would be your chances of complying with the speed limit if you didn’t know what it was? Do you think different people would interpret the direction to “drive safely” differently? Of course they would.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what we do to our teams. “Be good at customer service” is just about as clear as “comply with the speed limit” when you don’t know what it is.

Set up your teams to succeed. Provide definitions of success in every situation.

If you want to have a big impact on quality of service, develop written standards. You’ll see a lot of result for a little bit of work.

If you are a service provider who doesn’t supervise a team, ask your supervisor exactly what the standards are. You’ll have a much better chance at excelling when you know the rules of the game!

Do You Have Written Expectations For These Common Interactions?

Face-to-face in the office

Face-to-face in the field

Emails and automated replies

Land line and cell phone interactions

Call center interactions and quality control

Recorded greetings

Leaving voice mail messages

Out-of-office expectations

Driving a marked vehicle (logo visible)

Working with difficult situations and/or emotional customers

Employees as customers (for supervisors)

An Example:
Effective Communications in Person

¨ Always greet your customers in a friendly and respectful manner

¨ Use pleasant facial expressions – smile

¨ Look up from your work – make eye contact

¨ Nod your head in understanding

¨ Say “please” and “thank you”

– Use plain language

Example:
Effective Communications in Person

¨ Always greet your customers in a friendly and respectful manner

¨ Use pleasant facial expressions – smile

¨ Look up from your work – make eye contact

¨ Nod your head in understanding

¨ Say “please” and “thank you”

Use plain language

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3 Comments

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Profile Photo Scott Kearby

So many front line folks (and many others up the chain) don’t realize the big impact they have on the public … where can I find more examples of written expectations for common interactions so I don’t have to re-invent the wheel?

Profile Photo Wendi Pomerance Brick

@Scott – This is one of the consulting services offered to my clients, and I’d be happy to help your organization with it too. There are some baselines, but it’s important to customize to the organization. For a free resource, please check out “TheCSAEdge” newsletters posted at http://www.theCSAedge.com/Communications.shtml. There is a more detailed discussion of this topic in my new book “The Science of Service: Six Essential Elements for Creating a Culture of Service” http://www.TheScienceOfService.info. Thanks for asking!