What is Good Customer Service?

Follow the standard!

What is Good Customer Service?

Follow the standard!

What is good customer service? Most customers will have a view based on their own experience but is there any definitive evidence to help service providers improve?

What is good customer service? The standard

The UK’s Customer Service Excellence standard has been developed to help organisations provide better customer service. The standard is a set of benchmarks, devised to encourage good customer service throughout the UK. The standard is based on ‘a mix of research, management and operational models and, most importantly, practical experience of providing services’. After all, when asking, what is good customer service, its customer insight that will provide the real answers.

The standard can be used as a tool by any organisation wishing to help improve service. Developed from a combination of survey research and practical experience, the standards are grouped around five key criteria, each further sub-divided into key aspects:

1 Customer Insight
  • Customer identification
  • Engagement and consultation
  • Customer satisfaction
2 Culture of the Organisation
  • Leadership, policy and culture
  • Staff professionalism and attitude
3 Information and Access
  • Range of information
  • Quality of information
  • Access
  • Co-operative working with other providers, partners and communities
4 Delivery
  • Delivery standards
  • Achieved delivery and outcomes
  • Deal effectively with problems
5 Timeliness and Quality of Service
  • Standards for timeliness and quality
  • Timely outcomes
  • Achieved timely delivery

The full standard can be seen here. The Customer Service Excellence website also contains numerous other excellent resources, so it’s well worth a visit.

What matters most to customers

Research used to inform the Customer Service Standards identified what matters most to customers. There’s no real surprise that most people put one thing top of the list.

That organisations keep their promises!

Of course, good service providers have known this for a long time, as evidenced by the old service saying, attributed to Tom Peters:

Quality is important, to be sure. So is absolute response time. And price. But at the top of most lists, by far, is keeping your word. With uncertainty rising, if you “under promise, over deliver,” you will not only keep the customers satisfied; you’ll keep the customers.

And as with many an old saying, there is much truth and wisdom to be found in that sound-bite. In fact, as we can see from the research, it’s grounded in fact!

What is good customer service? Remembering the happy customer “to-do” list

Ok, we’ve listed the key factors that have informed industry benchmark standards about customer service, but what does that mean for service providers? What does it mean for better managers hoping to serve and keep happy customers. How can we deliver good customer service? Well, like the old saying, it’s probably most useful if we boil the research and standards down to the basics. So here is our “to-do” list, the essentials of providing good customer service:

  • Do what you promised you’d do.
  • Do it on time – don’t keep customers waiting.
  • Do inform customers about what’s happening. Give customers the information they need, when they need it.
  • Do it professionally, and with a caring, friendly attitude.
  • Do a bit more: surprise the customer with something beyond their expectations.
  • Do put things right quickly (and with care) when they go wrong.
  • Do all of the above as consistently as possible.

In short, try to be an organisation that customers find it easy and enjoyable to do business with.

What is good customer service? Showing some uncommon leadership!

Uncommon LeadershipChapter 4 of our book, Uncommon Leadership, has a real focus on good customer service. Entitled: Serving colleagues and customers through common touch leadership, this chapter looks at the idea of leaders who serve. And by this we mean serving both customers and employees.

“It’s a chapter about upside-down thinking.  To lead you need to serve.  To build customer loyalty you need to be loyal.  And sometimes, as we shall see, to make a big impact you need to focus on the small things.

Like a small alteration to a sandwich barcode that saved one company half-a-million pounds.  Or how small things can have an even bigger impact still, such as when one simple act of courtesy transformed a young boy and his entire nation.”

That’s not a common answer to the question: what is good customer service? But isn’t that what you’d expect from a book on uncommon leadership!

Workplace well-being resources

Managers Make the Difference e-guide

Whatever your take on good customer service, there is one sure thing to remember. It won’t happen with people! Whether it’s managers or the people they manage, read through our resources on how to be a better manager, and create a better workplace. These include some excellent tools to help your personal development plan. The best-value approach is to buy our Workplace Well-being bundle, available from the store.

We’ve bundled together these five e-guides at half the normal price! Read the guides in this order, and use the tools in each, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your personal development plan. (6 pdf guides, 138 pages, 24 tools, for half price!)

Have a Good Workday (16 pages, 4 tools)
How to be a Happy Manager (15 tips with action checklists)
Workstyle, Lifestyle (31 pages, 5 tools)
Managers Make the Difference (27 pages, 5 tools)
Managing from Strength to Strength (22 pages, 5 tools)
Making Change Personal (22 pages, 5 tools)

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