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Seven Criteria for Effective Customer Service Standards

Seven criteria make a customer service standard effective. Start by reviewing your current standards against this list and revamp the ones that need it. Effective standards need to be as follows:

  • Specific: Standards tell service people precisely what is expected of them. Customers don’t have to guess about your expectations or make anything up.

  • Concise: Standards don’t explain the philosophy behind the action. Instead, they get right to the point and spell out who needs to do what by when.

  • Measurable: Because actions in a standard are all specific criteria, they are observable and objective, which makes them easy to quantify.

  • Based on customer requirements: Standards need to be based on customer requirements and not just your industry’s standards. Fulfilling your customers’ expectations gives you an advantage over competitors that do not.

  • Written into job descriptions and performance reviews: If you want employees to adhere to the standards, then write them down and make them part of each employee’s job description and performance review. Using standards as a management tool gives them more credibility.

  • Jointly created with your staff: The best standards are created by management and staff together based on their mutual understanding of customer needs. You may want to consider using quality groups as a vehicle for having members of your staff come up with service standards.

  • Fairly enforced: Standards that are enforced with some people and not with others quickly erode. Company-wide standards require everybody to conform to them, including the top brass. Department-specific standards apply to everyone within that department, including the manager.

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