Varying Levels Of Quality Service
October 19, 2012
Just like all of us have a different level of skill in our lives, from home to business, so do companies when it comes to providing quality in their relationship with their customer’s.
Generally there are five levels of quality service. Not all companies will easily fall into any of these. Some are in between, while others are in a category all by their lonesome – both good and bad. Let’s look at each level and identify some of the type of companies that are at that level.
1. Ready for the Fire Sale. These companies and their employee’s – management and hourly alike – are so far out of touch with their customers, they are ready to go out of business and most of them don’t even know it yet. This is mainly because they are so large and don’t have a good concept of customer service, much less how to provide quality service for any reason.
2. Rapidly pursuing mediocrity. These are the company’s that may be in business for the long haul, but customer service is not a part of their strategic thinking, despite what they want to think and spout in their advertisements and other media appearances. Most governmental agencies operate in this way. They don’t like to think they provide bad service, but I have come across more than a few who do and have no clue what in the world they’re doing to drive away their base!
A great Many security companies operate this way, again, despite the economy. In contract security it is accepted that you will lose accounts and then gain new ones to make up the losses. Little attention is made to maintaining, even in a bad economy. And let’s not forget about the service they provide to their employees as well as their client’s, the turnover rate has dropped a bit, but is still at roughly 300% per year!
3. Hey there! They know the basics of quality service, but it doesn’t play a big enough role in their overall plan of success. The changing of attitudes has started, but it hasn’t hit all levels of the company yet. Many of the ‘old guard’ companies are at this level. GM, IBM, Oracle, and a few others are starting to change but still lagging.
Many employees have the attitude that what does it matter, we’ll get new and easier to work with customers’. Or ‘they need our products so bad they’ll be back no matter what we do!’ These companies need to make a concerted effort to ensure that their customer service plan and attitudes trickle down to every level.
4. We’re over here! HEre! HERe! HERE! These are the companies that are working hard to wield quality service as a weapon. They have an immense amount of risk taking and a huge amount or organizational focus about quality service goes on this level. The trouble with some of these companies is that quality service becomes a buzzword for a few months and then is forgotten and they slide backwards. Their processes are weak or complicated and therefore it is easy for all levels to slide back. The one thing you need to do in this is ensure that your customer service attitude and procedures are easy to understand and implement, don’t make them complicated.
Some companies will make their customer service so complicated that it is so much easier for the customer to just plain give up! And unfortunately, most of the companies that do this want you to give up. This goes for complaints, returns, getting accurate answers, and the like. Make it easier on your customers and you’ll make it easier on your employees and the company as well.
5. Customer Heaven! These are the companies that are legends in their fields when it comes to providing COQS and literally set up as examples of excellent customer service. They go to great, sometimes extraordinary, lengths to satisfy their customers. A few examples of this are at Disney, all employees are instructed to take control of lost children and make them feel at home, buy them ice cream, and help to reunite them with their parents.
Nordstrom Department Stores will go as far as exchanging or refunding money even on items that they don’t carry, if the goodwill involved outweighs the cost. Very few companies that are at this level.
Not every company will have every employee at the ready to serve their customers all the time. You will run into the occasional bad attitude at every company. You will have a few positive customer service oriented employees at a level 1 company. Consequently, you’ll find a few level 1 employee’s – no concept of quality customer service – working for a level 5 company.
So where does your company fall in the level of customer service? Are you a level 1 or a 5? Are you trying but can’t get the employees over the hump? In this economy, no matter what you’ve heard, you will have to conquer it or be prepared to be a level 1 in bankruptcy court!
Excerpted from another book of mine on ‘The COQS Method’.