5 levels of Customer service skill
Written by Robert D. Sollars
Just like all humans and animals have a different level of skill in all areas of life & whatever their job is, from ants to humans, so too, do companies have a different level of exceptional customer service to their customers. Generally, there are five different levels of service. Not all companies will easily fall into any of these. The issue is, being totally realistic and not lying to yourself or anyone for that matter, what level are you at?
Ready for the bankruptcy Sale
These companies, management and hourly alike, are so far out of touch with their customers, not to mention each other, they are ready to go out of business and most of them don’t even know it!
With many security companies & their officers, this is a big problem. Mainly because management, and clients, expect officers to do whatever is pushed at them, even if it is unworkable at their pay grade. You can’t be expecting a degreed graduate to work for minimum wage and stay with the company, hoping against hope they get promoted to a different site People just ain’t that stupid anymore.
Clients seem to enjoy playing one company off the other to get a better rate. That doesn’t work for anyone except the bottom line of the client, with the officers and client both suffering.
In the pursuit of mediocrity
These are the companies that are in business for the long term, but customer service is not a part of their strategic thinking, or worse it’s a secondary, third, or fourth concern. Most governmental agencies operate this way as well as a great many other companies today.
A quote that I heard more than 3 decades ago says; The Pursuit of Mediocrity is always successful, Mark Sanborn. To be mediocre you just have to maintain. And with the dangers in the real world today, being mediocre in any business is not beneficial but it still happens.
These companies 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.
Again they know the basics but don’t train their employees in how to conduct quality customer service. Training in exceptional customer service, especially for many service organizations is wasted money. And this goes doubly true for service companies, of all stripes…janitorial to security and many others.
We’re over here! Here! Here!
These are the companies that are forging their customer-oriented quality service plans and turning them into formidable weapons. They defy conventional wisdom and push to do better than the competition.
They have an immense amount of risk-taking and a huge amount of organizational focus on it. The trouble with some of these companies is that customer service becomes a buzzword for a few months and then is forgotten and they slide backward. Their processes are weak or complicated and therefore it is all too easy to slide.
The lesson with these companies is to not make the plan complicated, verbose, or hard to understand or implement. The simplest plans can be put into less than 5 – 10 pages. The text for training you, like this guide is necessarily longer.
These companies are both legendary in their fields and have forged the weapons to push aside the competition. They are constantly, literally, set up as examples. They go to great, sometimes extraordinary, lengths to satisfy their customers.
Disney, Nordstrom, Starbucks, Facebook, Amazon, & many much smaller companies used to be in this category, and as long as they continue to believe that nothing has to change, and they become twisted by the political winds, they will eventually fail.
Very few companies are at this level, mainly because it can be expensive and it actually forces human resources and management to hire good employees, not succumbing to warm body syndrome, & follow-up to ensure that the corporate culture of service is being followed.
Not every company will have every employee ready to serve their customers all the time. You will run into the occasional bad attitude at every company, no matter what the overall reputation is. You will have a few positive customer service-oriented employees at a level 1, Ready for the Bankruptcy Sale, company. Consequently, you’ll find a few level 1 employees – no concept of quality customer service – working for a level 5, Customer Heaven.
The main issue here is to decide where you compare to these and find out which level you are at. Your company may be Level 1 yet your department or branch is a level 5. The one thing you have to consider and remember is this quote that I learned decades ago and still applies The Best isn’t and Good Enough never is, Mark Sanborn.
It’s true. There is no such thing as the best. That’s because there is always someone out there who is doing it better than you. If you are that good, then let your customers say it not you. And if you settle for good enough… But this means you have to reprise the commercial for a car rental company from 30 and 40 years ago “We’re #2 so we try harder”
This is an excerpt from my book Unconventional Customer Service: How-to Break the Rules to Provide Unparalleled Service, available on Amazon and published in 2018
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