Striving for service excellence is what defines and distinguishes a business.
Service delivery is that often-bandied-about term that can cover virtually every interaction between a business or provider and its customers, where the customer is receiving either information or advice or an action which may involve delivery, repair, upgrading, maintenance or removal, just to name a few. Essentially, good service must add value to the customer’s personal or business endeavours. Poor service will either add no value or worse, result in a loss of value.
The cornerstone of any good service delivery model is reliability, which means that service is provided whenever and where ever it is required. Reliability must be backed up by consistency, in that a standard of excellence is the baseline for performance every single time service is executed. This is what delivers an experience with a higher perceived value. And when that service exceeds a customer’s expectations, there is actual added value on both sides; the customer gains, because for example, their uptime is maximised and they don’t lose out on productivity, and the service provider gains because that customer will remain loyal, and in all likelihood become an enthusiastic referral source for other customers.
Service excellence that delivers beyond expectations is therefore an element of a business, which is critical to growth and future viability.
Given the importance of service delivery within the greater business success model, a service delivery system should be specifically and strategically designed so that it can implemented with consistency to enjoy the correct outcomes time and time again.
What to aim for when establishing a service delivery model:
We’ve established that reliability, consistency and excellence are what we strive for, but putting these into practice means truly engaging with the nuts and bolts of the processes.
This begins with the front line. The person taking the service call is key. There must be a protocol in place to ensure that every detail required to tackle the problem is correctly recorded. Speed of communication with the team tasked to perform the service is critical.
It almost goes without saying, but cannot be stressed enough, that technicians must be highly skilled, qualified and completely up-to-date in their training. Training should be ongoing to ensure state-of-the-art industry practice.
All of the above is standard. It is what happens beyond these stages that distinguishes the service provider. The aim is to surprise and delight the customer by going beyond the call of duty, which means that every person in the service chain has to push themselves to exceed expectations. This is when the value you bring your customers extends way beyond product and price.
How does one go above and beyond?
Attitude is the starting point. Customers need to hear a positive sounding voice at the other end of a line. They need to feel as if you are really listening and they require the assurance that their problem is being tackled with urgency, no matter how small it may be.
Make it your business to be informed and knowledgeable.
It is expected that you have a thorough grasp of the product or service being sold, and that you understand the importance of fulfilling guarantees and promises, be they implicit or implied.
Support your company.
It is also key to show confidence in your company’s ability to deliver excellent service, so at every point in the process, the customer never doubts that he or she is in good hands and therefore has made the right choice in purchasing the product or service from you in the first place.
Customer service provides a key communication opportunity.
A customer service department provides the perfect portal for communication with your customers and offers multiple opportunities for consumer/market research, which is vital for any business to ensure that they remain relevant and useful in their customer’s lives.
Without an ongoing connection, a business is in danger of losing viability.