Quality Standards in Customer Service

Quality Standards in Customer Service
Instructor: Brad Cleveland
Released: 6/14/2019Course Details
Skills Covered
Customer Service Management
Course Link
Professional Certifications and Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
Customer service strategy can mean many different things. Quality standards ensure your team provides a consistent level of service—and customers receive a consistent level of care. This pays off in improved loyalty, increased revenue, and better employee engagement. Whether you’re leading a dedicated customer service team, a small business, or a large contact center, this course provides the practical know-how and real-life examples you need to establish quality standards and get the most out of your customer service initiatives. Brad Cleveland divides the lessons into three sections, covering quality and customer service definitions, quality standards for individuals, and quality standards for the overall organization. Along the way, he shows how to implement a process, measure progress, and effectively coach employees, so that your entire team performs at its very best.

Learning objectives
– Defining quality in customer service
– Identifying customer expectations
– Quality standards for individuals
– Measuring and scoring individual performance
– Coaching individuals
– Quality standards for the organization
– Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs)

Source: LinkedIN Learning
Principles of Quality Standards for Customer Service

Defining quality in customer service

Characteristics of a product or service

Requirements or guidelines established for customer service

Things to Consider

  • Customer expectations
  • Vision, mission, values
  • Stakeholders

Customer expectations of service delivery

Customer expectations are always changing.  

Common Customer Expectations: ICMI

  • Being accessible
  • Treated courteously
  • Be responsive to needs and want
  • Do what I ask promptly
  • Tell me what to expect
  • Well-trained and informed employees
  • Meet your commitments and keep your promises
  • Do it right the first time
  • Socially responsible and ethical

Make it easy for customers to do business with you.

Appearance and functionality of your retail environment.

Ensuring your quality standards are effective

Setting the right number of quality standards

  1. Clear vision, mission, values
  2. Automate where that makes sense
  3. Improve the support of processes and technologies
  4. Build a strong team

Addressing misconceptions

One common misconception is that quality standards are overly rigid and scripted.  Base standards on customer expectations.  Another common misconception is that quality standards for customer service will increase costs.  Use quality standards to optimize your resources.  Show your team that poor quality has a price. 

Quality Standards for Individual Performance

Effective standards for individuals

Quality Standards

  • Aligned with company ideals
  • With employee control
  • Clear and manageable

Setting the Right Number of Quality Standards

  • Safety
  • Courtesy
  • Show 
  • Efficiency

Two types of standards

Foundation Standards
Foundation standards measure if something is done.  Identify foundation standards first.  

Finesse Standards
Finesse standards measure how something is done.  Finesse standards help strengthen customer relationships.  

Have a mix of foundation and finesse standards.

Surveys and service observation

You can get input from surveys or focus groups from customers, direct observation, role play, recorded interactions, mystery shoppers, analytics and there’s operational data such as repeat calls or product returns.

At the minimum, it is recommended to explore customer surveys (external) and service observations (internally).

Measures and scores

Use data to improve.  

Recommendations when using measures

  • Include employees
  • Uses scores positively
  • Interpret customer input thoughtfully
  • Adjust your approach


The process of minimizing variations in results.  Calibration helps you measure performance objectively.  

Four steps for successful calibration

  1. Overall agreement
  2. Consistent ratings
  3. Effective coaching
  4. Internal and external alignment

Effective coaching

  • Expectations
  • Status
  • Improvement opportunities

The best coaches build relationships of trust, respect, and accountability.  They help clarify goals, serve as role models and develop their team members.  Coaching has more impact when you have clear quality standards.  Coaches should use a proven model, like SAFE (Summarize, Ask, Formulate, Express).  Effective coaches focus on the toughest and most important challenges.  Approach coaching as an opportunity to empower individuals.

Quality Standards for the Service Organization

The customer service process

A system of causes

Components involved in Customer Service

  • Customers (knowledge, expectation, communication)
  • Employees (technical support, training, communication)
  • Systems
  • Policies

Work on processes.  For example, what training do employees need?  Aim to meet standards.  

Standards for the service operation: the enablers

Developing Standards

  • Predict customer workload – accurate workload forecast
  • Plan and manage resources (right resources, right place, right time)
  • Manage wait times – service accessibility

Standards for the service operations: Quality and value

Developing Standards

  • Quality of interactions – service that meets or exceeds expectations
  • Employee engagement – committed employees
  • Customer loyalty – service experiences that encourage brand ambassadors
  • Strategic value – customer insight and data

Establishing a key performance indicator

Common KPI Metrics

  • Customer satisfaction – how would you rate your experience? (1-5)
  • Net Promoter Score – how likely is it that you’ll recommend us to others?
  • Customer Effort – How easy was it to handle the issue? (1-7)

Consider more than one metric.  Understand the sample.  Show metric’s alignment with quality standards.

Secret to quality service

  • Develop standards with your team
  • Keep them on display
  • Gain support from team
  • Maintain a customer focus
  • Focus on employee engagement
To experience the full benefit of this guide, I highly recommend you watch the full training session.
Brad Cleveland recommends the following courses:

Customer Advocacy
Customer Service Leadership
Managing Customer Feedback

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