Development and analysis of service standarts
DEVELOPMENT AND ANALYSIS OF SERVICE STANDARDS
Maasaki Imai, “Gemba Kaizen: a Way to reduce costs and improve quality»
Service standards development is an important stage of company advancement. The standards reflect maturity level of a company and help to prevent typical mistakes leading to customer disloyalty.
Advertising spots; bright façade, promotional actions; posters on billboards; brands selling by a company form perception of a company by the consumers and affect on a level of their expectation. But nice picture of customer expectations may be destroyed by service staff. It may be made unintentionally just because conception of customer service was formed spontaneously.
Targeted implementation of service standards helps to meet consumer expectations and gives a number of advantages for a customer, a company and a staff.
WHY CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARDS ARE NEEDED?
Service standards are collection of rules and principles that prescribe relations between a company and a customer, regulate interaction of the employees at different levels.
- The standards are indicative of unchanged service quality of a company anywhere in the world;
- The sense of customer own worth is increasing;
- It is easily to choose “your” company due to the standards;
- They promote satisfaction increase from a contact with a company.
- The employees are acutely aware of parameters of their work estimating;
- The standards give the easiest and safest method of duties performance;
- Possibility of stress at a work place is minimized: the standards prescribe a behavior while conflict situations and suggest how to act with defaulting customers;
- The employees become interchangeable;
- Adaptation process at a new work place is easy and fast.
- The profit is increasing by virtue of satisfied customers and their loyalty is improving;
- A term end expenses for new staff training are decreasing;
- There is a common service quality all over trade network that promotes brand awareness;
- Interaction pattern between the departments is well-prescribed that helps to minimize the conflicts;
- The standards reflect the best personnel service experience which will be kept at a company even after an employee dismissal;
- It lightens control of branches work.
Example of standards structure:
- 1. Visual (operational) standards: requirements to selling space (cleanness, merchandising, availability of POS materials etc.), requirements to the appearance of an employee.
- 2. Key corporate principles of work with clients.
- 3. Principles of drawing attention and connection establishment with a customer.
- 4. Technology of needs assessment.
- 5. Regulations of work with presentation materials.
- 6. Regulations of work with customer complaints and claim letters.
- 7. Technologies of impelling a customer to the purchase.
- 8. Technologies of communication with customers by phone.
- 9. Service standards at cash desk.
- 10. Rules of contact ending.
- 11. Rules of merchandise return.
Customer service standards should be reference book for all employees. A content of the standards depends on a niche where you work and business processes of a company.
DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF SERVICE STANDARDS
5 steps from an idea to realization of service standards:
Diagnostics of current customer service quality.
This is one of the most important stages. How the employees talk to customers? What methods they use while selling? What prevents a customer concluding a contract and paying money after all? Answers to these questions form the basis for effective service standards.
Development of customer service standards.
The standards should be second to none and conducive to meeting the expectations of the target audience.
Development of control system.
When development of customer service standards is completed it’s necessary to think out compliance control mechanisms. In order to check the knowledge and compliance with standards you may use the research Mystery shopping or Mystery calling.
Development of incentive system.
Compliance with customer service standards often forms the basis for staff incentive system and development of penalty and reward scheme.
Implementation of service standards. Training.
The main problem on the way of common service standards implementation is resistance of the employees. At this stage those of employees not sharing a company values are falling away.
IMPROVING OF CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARDS
Effective customer service standards should be particular, measurable, realistic, relatively variable and relevant.
In 3-6 months the results of standards implementation may be measured. Index of effectiveness include: sales growth and increase of the average purchase amount, expansion in the number of satisfied and loyal customers, reduction of claim letters and merchandise returns.
Once every 2-3 years it is needed to do service standards analysis and make them actual. A market is changing as well as customer expectations so it is extremely necessary for a company to move with the time.
John Tschohl said: “Advertising will get a customer through the door to your business once, but it is service that will keep them coming back” – service standards implementation is the right way to customer satisfaction and stable profit.