“Always/Never List” Helps Codify Service Standards

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Two of the most important components of any service quality strategy are:

  1. Having a well-defined and consistent set of service standards in place
  2. Effectively communicating those standards throughout the organization

Even if your company doesn’t have a formalized service quality strategy, you probably have a number of service standards that at least some of your employees practice some of the time. So how do you formalize something that may be ad hoc, but probably has a ton of potential value for your business?

One thing you can do right now to formalize and communicate your company’s existing, yet undocumented, service standards is to create an “Always/Never List.” Putting an “Always/Never List” together is pretty easy: Just meet with your team and brainstorm eight to ten service actions your employees already do that complete the phrase “At our company we always ______” (e.g. you always return client phone calls within one hour, or you always take responsibility for a customer’s complaint, even if it’s not your fault). Then come up with eight to ten actions that complete the phrase “At our company we never ______” (e.g. you never bad-mouth a co-worker, or you never leave a customer on hold on the telephone for more than 30 seconds). You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how quickly you’ll come up with a list of “always” and “never” actions that will help crystallize your company’s service quality standards and make it easier to communicate them throughout the company. Once you have your list, you can print them up on 3”x5” cards, get them laminated and hand them out to the front-liners.

An example of something that’s on the Eservus Always/Never List is that we always say “you’re welcome” or “my pleasure” when thanked by a customer or co-worker. We never say “No problem.” Just that one little thing sets us apart from almost every service company out there, and it shows that we have a well-trained, service-focused team.

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