Performance Management For Dummies
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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.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Herman Aguinis, PhD, is the Avram Tucker Distinguished Scholar and professor of management at The George Washington University School of Business in Washington, DC. He's been ranked among the top 100 most prolific and influential business and economics researchers in the world.

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