A recent project of mine involved rating and comparing companies based on their level of customer service. I began with a basic rating scale of 1-5 (with one being bad and five excellent), but then I decided to get a bit more creative. I came up with descriptive names for the levels of service.

Five Levels of Service

  1. Unacceptable – This may be a kind term for some of the more terrible examples of customer service, but it encompasses any service that is unacceptable for any reason.
  2. Basic – Minimum standards and commodity.
  3. Good – This category contains what customers would call “satisfactory” service.
  4. World Class – Taking a big jump from satisfactory, in the eyes of the customer your company is superior to others in the industry.
  5. Trademark – At the top of the game. You set the benchmarks for the industry.

You can use this rating system to perform a self-assessment of your business and your personal standing. Consider the following questions and honestly evaluate your situation. If you do not deal with outside customers, think about how you serve your internal customer.

  1. What level of service does your company provide for your customers or clients? What level of service do you personally provide?
  2. In terms of the descriptive levels of service, how would you describe yourself?
  3. Where do other companies in your industry fall in the levels of customer service?
  4. What about companies outside your industry? Assign them to the levels of service.
  5. Consider the companies that you have assigned to the “World Class” and “Trademark” levels (inside and outside your industry). What qualities do they have that you could emulate?
  6. If you are not at the “Trademark” level (and very few are), what steps can you take to move closer to the top? What would you have to do to get all the way there?

Use these questions as a springboard for discussion and goal setting. Remember the following points:

The quest for great service never ends. Even after reaching the “Trademark” level, it is an ongoing process you should always be striving to improve.

The basic tenet of customer service lies in common sense. Though some take a scientific approach with measurements, testing, etc., it boils down to people taking care of people.

Never stop reaching, no matter how high you rate in the “Five Levels of Service.” Continuous training and coaching is needed in the journey to “Trademark” service and beyond.

And one final thought …

“Great service is not the end – the final answer. It is a process that is ongoing, ever changing and is always being adapted to meet the needs of the current situation.”

– Shep Hyken