This video provides guidance on questions such as: How many standards should you have? Are there alternatives to quality standards in guiding behavior? How do you ensure that your quality standards really count and are effective? Explore ways to minimize the quantity of standards you'll need; for example, through improving systems and processes. Ensure those you have make a difference in guiding behavior and delivering high-quality service.
- How many quality standards should you have? If some are good, are more better? How do you ensure that your quality standards really count? Are there alternatives to quality standards in guiding behavior? Let's explore these, and related questions here. The customer expectations worksheet in the exercise files identifies the 10 expectations customers have of service interactions, as well as those things related to the tangibles when service is delivered in person. Identifying what your customers expect is a prerequisite to establishing effective quality standards.
As you assess expectations and identify potential supporting standards, there are a number of things to consider. One is, meeting expectations requires a combination of people, processes, and technologies. Consider courtesy, which may appear to be a simple, straightforward expectation. Hire and train for it, right? Ensure your customer service representatives understand what courtesy means. That it's a priority in every interaction. But courtesy is also technology-dependent. If I'm an existing customer, know who I am.
If I've done business with you in the past, acknowledge that. Don't make me start all over with basic information or background on an existing service issue. This requires the support of information. Courtesies also process-dependent. Don't transfer me around. Have the right levels of staff and supporting resources in place, so I'm not waiting too long to get help. Be courteous of my time. Quality standards will be much more effective when you're also working on cultivating the right processes and technology support.
Another important consideration is it would be very difficult to set quality standards on every aspect of every expectation. Trying to focus on too many standards at the individual level can backfire creating a robotic approach. Or worse, it can create an environment in which the standards you do have are just glossed over, ignored altogether. They're overwhelming. So how many quality standards should you have for customer service? Here's the principle. Our recommendation is to establish as many as you need but as few as possible.
Take steps to prevent the need for standards any way, anywhere you can. Then ensure those that you have serve their purpose well. There are several ways to minimize the number of quality standards that you'll need. One is to clarify and reinforce your organization's mission, vision, and values and build a culture driven by clear principles. This can effectively reduce the need for standards to the degree that these things guide behavior. REI, the successful outdoor clothing and equipment retailer describes their core purpose this way.
We inspire, educate, and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventures. Now taken seriously, which it is at REI, consider how this statement can help guide customer service. If I'm an employee, what does that mean when a customer calls? Or when they walk through the door? We still need clear quality standards but what a great start I have in understanding what to do. Second, any requirements or specifications you can build in the systems and processes will reduce the quantity of specific standards that you have to put in place and manage.
Compliance issues, legal and regulatory requirements, should especially as possible be built into systems and processes. A simple example is a system wide recording that notifies customers, This call may be recorded for quality purposes. Similarly, technologies that assist in customer identification can minimize the need for additional security steps and reduce the opportunity for error. In another example, entering data correctly is an aspect of customer service that clearly our employees are responsible for.
And they should be reflected in quality standards. But do we have fields that are easy to access and use? Are multiple systems involved, and if so, are they easy to navigate? Does duplicative information automatically populate once it's entered initially? The answers can vary widely, but clearly, leveraging systems as much as possible will get us further down the road. Building a strong team by hiring the right people, training them well, and developing a supporting culture is another way to maximize the impact of the quality standards you have.
Southwest Airlines, one of the world's most admired companies, explains their approach this way. They write, "In our order of importance, we put our employees first, then our customers, then our shareholders. Many companies feel you have to appease the customers or shareholders first. We believe that if we treat our employees right they'll treat our customers right. And in turn, that results in increased business and profits that make everyone happy." By taking these steps, strengthening your organization's mission, vision, and values, improving systems and processes.
And building a strong team. Hiring the right people, treating them well. You'll be improving consistency and effectiveness in customer service delivery while reducing opportunities for failure. Many of today's most successful organizations perhaps ironically have proportionally fewer quality standards for customer service. But those they have they really count. Now's a great time to go back to the customer expectations worksheet and begin to identify quality standards that make sense for your customer's expectations and where systems and processes can also help.
Watch and learn how to establish quality standards in customer service, and improve loyalty, revenue, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement. Brad Cleveland divides the lessons into three chapters, covering quality and customer service definitions, quality standards for individuals, and quality standards for the overall organization. Along the way, he shows how to implement a process, measure progress, and effectively coach employees.
- Defining quality
- Ensuring standards count
- Measuring individual performance
- Coaching customer service professionals
- Creating quality standards for the service organization