“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” -Alexander Pope, written in 1743
Don’t you wish your customers took that quote to heart??? Unfortunately for those in the customer service profession, you could write it off because our friend Alexander clearly hasn’t experienced a person in our modern world. Our customers, for better or worse, have clear expectations of what they want from the products and services they buy and use.
That’s why having a set of customer service standards is so important. There are a few things you should include in any set of customer service standards you create (you can learn more here), but covering high level topics such as timelines of response and quality of the response are important to cover.
There are many important benefits to creating customer service standards, but here are just two:
1. It manages your customer’s expectations
Customer service standards will set the expectations your customers have for your organization. If they know that the maximum wait time for a response from your service organization is eight business hours, then they are likely to not get upset when you haven’t responded within two.
Bonus tip: You may be tempted to sandbag a bit on your expectations with customers so that you are consistently achieving well above expectations. This may give you a boost initially with your customers, however they are just going to reset their mental expectations to what you are actually delivering. Don’t set unrealistically high expectations, but at the same time don’t go too far the other way. It can end up as much of a turn off pre-sale as it does delight post-sale.
2. It sets your employee’s expectations
We’d all love to think we live in a world where people will do things as fast as possible and exactly right the first time every time. The reality is we don’t, and because of that we need to set a level of expectation for our employees on what qualifies as good work. Customer service standards do just that by setting the minimum expectation of what is acceptable in the role they are performing.
Bonus tip: People will often do the minimum required (hey…its just natural for most people), so incentivizing work that goes above and beyond is a great way to get your customer service folks doing great work while at the same time delighting your customers.
Having customer service standards will help set the expectations both for your customers and employees. But, like mentioned before, the one thing to remember is that no matter what you put on a piece of paper or on a web page, the experience customers have with your service is going to end up being the ‘standard’ long term. Be sure that you are consistently delivering an exceptional experience, and the rest will fall in place.
If you’d like to see how you can get started with setting customer service standards at your organization, check out this lesson we have put together on the basics of customer service.