Companies that have service standards are not strict and rigid.  Companies that have service standards are not stifling creativity in their service delivery.  Companies that have service standards are not restricting innovation in the customer experience.  Service Standards are empowering and make the job of the employee and the manager so much easier.  Why?  Because they make it very clear as to the behaviors that are accepted and not accepted in how one treats a customer, both internal and external.
Employees want to know what is expected of them.  In fact, NOT knowing what is expected, is in the top six reasons as to why employees leave a company, according to Gallup.  Employee want to be held accountable and for their colleagues to be held accountable to the same standards.  When service standards have not been defined, this is impossible to do.  Without service standards, employees make up their own or adhere to the standards they learned from a previous place of employment.
Service Standards create a consistency across an organization because they should be the same for all departments, 365 days a year and 24/7.  Service standards are essential for a seamless customer experience.  They should not change with the time of year, day of month, or the economy ups and downs.  It becomes confusing to employees when they do. 

You don’t need to have a lot of service standards.  The key is to choose three, four, or five, that will have a significant impact on how customers will feel about their experience with your organization.  For example, Ritz Carlton has three service standards, Walt Disney World has four service standards. 

For managers, the job of managing becomes easier too.  The service standards are freeing in that they let the manager manage the behaviors and not get sucked into becoming the “mean, tough, old manager” just because they are the one who is willing to call an employee out when they are exhibiting bad customer service behaviors.  With clear service standards, managers are simply making sure that employees are adhering to the standards that were agreed upon in their hiring and are a part of the culture of the organization.

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