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Service Standards: Elevating Customer Experience to a New Level


In an increasingly competitive and customer-oriented market, service excellence is a crucial factor for the success of any organization. Service standards play a fundamental role in the quality and consistency of interactions between a company and its customers.

Customer service faces significant challenges due to rising customer expectations and high employee turnover, and digital solutions still fall short of needs.

It is up to companies to define the best way to allocate investment in people and technologies in their customer service strategies. Companies that do not invest in these areas face the prospect of increased customer dissatisfaction and even market loss. On the other hand, companies with a good balance of technology and human care can best retain their customers through personalized journeys, increasing productivity, profits, and employee satisfaction.

What are Service Standards?

Service standards are the norms a company sets to ensure quality and consistency in customer service. These standards define patterns of behavior for employees who deal directly with customers and recommend procedures and practices to provide exceptional service.

Service standards can range from how the company communicates to response times to the processes to follow for complaints resolution.

What are the Benefits of Having Good Service Standards?

Good service standards ensure customer satisfaction and organizational success. Some reasons why service standards are important:

Improving Brand Image

Having clear and well-defined service standards ensures that all customers are treated the same way, regardless of who is serving them. This increases customer trust in the company and helps build a positive brand image.

Increasing Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty

Good customer service significantly influences customer loyalty. If they feel well looked after and valued by the company, they will feel satisfied and more likely to continue purchasing in the future and recommend the company to others.

Increasing Sales

Service quality has a direct impact on sales growth, contributing to satisfaction, loyalty, and customer referrals, as well as creating upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

Reducing Costs

Having well-defined service standards can help reduce customer service costs. By standardizing processes, they can be optimized to maximize efficiency and minimize the time spent serving each customer.

Increasing Employee Satisfaction

Standards contribute to employee satisfaction; they know how to communicate, solve problems, and provide good service, helping reduce frustration and dissatisfaction.

Continuous Improvement

Having standards allows the company to monitor customer service performance and identify areas for improvement. This enables optimizing service processes, making them more efficient.

To sum up, service standards are essential to ensure customer satisfaction, build a positive brand image, promote loyalty, and reduce service costs.

How to Define Priorities for Developing Service Standards?

The first step in selecting priorities for service standards involves identifying customer touchpoints with the organization. Touchpoints can occur in various ways and are generally divided into three types: static, interactive, and human.

For service standards, the focus is on interactive and human touchpoints. Interactive touchpoints include emails, social media, blogs, and chatbots, among others. Human touchpoints are those where the customer interacts directly with another person, for example, through the sales team.

After identifying the touchpoints, the reasons for contact need to be identified throughout the different stages of the customer journey:

  • Pre-sale: technical information requests, budget requests, visit requests, or others.
  • Sale: placing an order, inquiries about order status, etc.
  • Post-sale: technical support requests, complaints, billing issues, etc.

Once the reasons are identified, we need to identify the different channels used, such as customer support lines, website forms or email, social media, salespeople, and so on.

The next step is to evaluate and assign an emotional state to each contact reason and channel used. In other words, understand whether the customer was satisfied with the interaction and to what extent. Identify the customer’s pain points and improvement opportunities for each contact, referring to existing Voice of Customer (VOC) records or plan new VOC data collection.

Finally, improvement priorities should be defined for the touchpoints that create the most dissatisfaction and discomfort for the customer.

How to Identify Improvements in Critical Contact Points?

For each critical touchpoint, we must map the entire process, identifying tasks, stakeholders, best-performing channels, quantifying the service level, and identifying improvement opportunities. Then, move on to designing the future vision and defining the implementation plan.

The future vision may involve new customer service technologies, such as chatbots, virtual assistants, artificial intelligence.

How to Define Good Customer Service Standards?

After designing the future vision for each touchpoint and implementing the action plan, the new processes need to be standardized. Standardization prevents variations in employee performance and establishes the best way to perform a certain task. Standardization helps sustain implemented improvements.

A standard is the easiest, simplest, and safest way to perform a task – known to date. Standards should be simple, visual, and accessible to everyone performing the task.

Standardized processes offer organizations several advantages, such as ensuring process stability, protecting knowledge, and preventing repetitive errors. They also act as a training and task delegation guideline, contribute to making the team more versatile, and serve as a foundation for audits.

Standards can be physical or digital. Currently, there are various digital tools to make standards more interactive and intuitive for the user, such as video tutorials, interactive guides, chatbots, working instructions guided by lights, or augmented reality.

Another relevant point in customer service is segmentation and personalization. By segmenting customers based on their profiles, companies can offer more relevant experiences. On the other hand, personalization creates an emotional bond with customers, showing that the company values and understands each customer’s specific needs, resulting in lasting and positive relationships. Platforms, such as CRMs (Customer Relationship Management), can be a huge help for organizations to provide personalized service. Recent studies show that about 95% of customer service team leaders agree that a CRM platform is an effective way to increase team productivity and provide better service.

How to Train Teams and Ensure Service Standards are Met?

When the new standards are finalized and tested, training the teams that will use them is required. Developing a training plan, training employees according to the new standard, and verifying if they can comply are primary steps to ensure the service is performed correctly.

It’s also a good practice to create a skills matrix that records who has been trained in each standard.

After the teams start using these standards, the defined indicators need to be monitored to evaluate the impact of standardization and establish an audit routine to assess if the standard is being followed.

Which Metrics Should Be Used to Measure Customer Satisfaction?

Several metrics can be employed to gauge customer satisfaction. Some of the essential metrics include:

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

This metric evaluates customer loyalty by asking the following question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company/products/services to a friend/colleague?” Customers are categorized as promoters (scores of 9 to 10), neutrals (scores of 7 to 8), or detractors (scores of 0 to 6). The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

This directly measures overall customer satisfaction, typically related to a specific interaction. Customers are asked to rate their satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. The average of customer scores provides the CSAT. As a transactional metric, it is used after specific interactions to measure short-term customer satisfaction. It can help gather meaningful data at any stage of the customer journey.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

This measures a customer’s effort to resolve an issue or fulfill an objective. Customers are asked to rate how easy it was to address the problem or achieve the required outcome on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 7. A qualitative scale can also be employed. The lower the score, the less effort is perceived by the customer. The CES should be measured immediately after the action to review. Delaying the assessment increases the likelihood of the customer forgetting how they felt and providing an inaccurate response, overlooking the assessment, or even evaluating the wrong process.

Resolution Time

This indicates the time required to address customer requests. The faster a request is resolved, the higher the customer satisfaction.

First Contact Resolution Rate

This measures the service team’s ability to address customer requests on the first contact. The higher the first contact resolution rate, the greater the customer satisfaction.

It is vital to select metrics aligned with the specific goals and needs of the company, combining different indicators to gain a comprehensive view of customer satisfaction. Beyond the metrics mentioned, indicators such as new customers, abandonment rates, and gathering qualitative feedback through surveys and complaints analysis are crucial for a complete understanding of the customer experience.

The Importance of New Technologies in Customer Service

New technologies can be pivotal in enhancing service and revolutionize how companies interact and deliver services to customers. However, currently, the vast majority of digital customer contacts still require assistance.

In the future, companies should focus on leveraging technologies to automate processes, improve wait times, reduce costs, and concentrate human interactions on moments that genuinely make a difference in the customer experience. Several innovative technologies can be employed to enhance customer service; here are some examples:

Chatbots and Virtual Assistants

Chatbots are computer programs that can interact with customers in real-time, providing automatic answers to frequently asked questions.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence can be used to analyze vast amounts of customer data and offer valuable insights to enhance customer service. Machine learning algorithms can identify customer behavior patterns, anticipate their needs, and tailor interactions based on individual preferences.

Sentiment Analysis

This technology allows for assessing customer sentiment based on interactions such as phone calls, emails, or social media messages. This enables companies to identify issues and respond appropriately, enhancing customer satisfaction.


Self-service platforms enable customers to find information and solve problems independently, without contacting customer service. This can include online knowledge bases, interactive FAQs, user forums, and video tutorials.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality can be used to provide real-time visual support to customers. For instance, in a technical support setting, a customer can use their smartphone to showcase the issue, and the support staff can offer precise, real-time guidance to address the problem.

Internet of Things (IoT)

With IoT, connected devices can provide real-time data on product or service performance or usage. This allows companies to identify issues before customers do and offer proactive support.

These are just a few of the innovative technologies that can be used to enhance customer service. This is an ever-evolving field, with new solutions continually emerging in the market.


Service standards play a pivotal role in the customer experience. Companies can ensure consistent, high-quality service by standardizing service processes, regardless of the communication channels used.

Organizations can empower employees to handle various situations efficiently by investing in proper development and training. Moreover, adopting innovative technologies like chatbots and virtual assistants can help optimize service, delivering quick and accurate responses.

Service standards should not be viewed as static. Companies should update them in line with customer needs and expectations. Continuously gathering customer feedback through surveys and data analysis is essential to identify improvement areas and implement corrective actions.

By establishing a culture of service excellence, companies can build lasting relationships with their customers and achieve long-term success. Deep collaboration between customer support, marketing and sales teams is needed to maximize impact. Working together, they can provide excellent and genuine interactions throughout the customer journey.

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