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Six Critical Areas of Customer Service

Have you thought about your customer service strategy recently?  Perhaps this may include asking customers, and employees, for feedback regarding your sales and service levels and considering any suggestions.

In many of X5 Management sales and customer service workshops, we often ask participants how they believe their customers would rate them on customer service performance.  A common answer is often, “I’m not sure”, or “We’ve never asked”.

Often organizations make their own assumptions of how they rate in customer service performance based on their own feelings or a few conversations they may have had with customers.  If this sounds like your business, it may be time to set customer service standards within your organization to maintain your current customers as well as develop new customer relationships.

Here are six critical areas in which to set service standards in your business:

1. Responsiveness

  • How reactive is your team in responding to customer problems or needs?
  • Do you have measurable guidelines in this area?


Challenge your team to become an industry leader and become more responsive to customer by exceeding expectations with an objective of always over delivering to WOW the customer.

2. Reliability

  • Are you more reliable than your competitors within your industry?
  • Have your team rate your organization’s “reliability” in customer service on a scale of 1 to 10.


The dialogue and conversation regarding your rating may uncover some major challenges and opportunities in this area and measuring your percentage of repeat and referral business can offer some clues.

Speaking of Customer Service Skills, we cover 5 Customer Service Skills to Master to Stand Out From Your Competition

3. Speed

  • The speed of your service delivery can set you apart from your competition and make you invaluable to your customers. What is it now?
  • Do you understand your customer’s expectations in this area and have you set standards for your team to deliver on these expectations?


Speed of service is an easy one to measure and most importantly, cannot ever be blamed on factors such as slow supply chain. Customers do not care about your challenges. If your services rely on a third party, ensure they also understand your Customer Service Standards or find a new vendor.

4. Value

  • What is your unique value proposition that keeps customers coming back to you?
  • How do you continuously plan to add value to your offer?


Become the greatest value provider in your industry and continually show your customers why they need YOU and only YOU! Ensure your entire team understand how important this is.

5. Competence

  • How does your team demonstrate above average competence regarding your products and services?
  • Are your customers aware of the skills and backgrounds that your team members possess, which make your business first-class?


Demonstrate your expertise by having your team showcase their unique skills and abilities consistently. Recognize and reward them for it and ensure leadership leads by example by doing the same.

6. Friendliness

  • How do you measure this important expectation?
  • Is this also an obvious part of your organizational culture?

Friendliness is often overlooked when organizations assess their own customer service program. Although this one seems simple and straightforward, many organizations miss the mark and an opportunity to WOW their customers in this area.

For more on Customer Service, read this next: Customer Service: Do the Little Things Make a Difference?

First Impressions Matter

These six critical customer service areas are easily measured by your customers and that would make it even more important to be measured by you. Leadership within an organization can tell employees what is expected but unless employees are properly trained, they may not possess the tools to deliver on expectations.


According to the authors of “Blue Ocean Strategy”, Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, if all things are equal and comparable between organizations, consumers will select by price. That fact must be the motivation to consider the importance of the above-mentioned customer service areas.

Yes, first impressions matter! Read more about it on our next post: What are First Impressions in Customer Service? 

Delivering Remarkable Service is a tailored training course that X5 Management has developed for the Sales and Service business community and its employees. This engaging half-day course offers interactive training and takeaways in the following areas:

  • Defining Remarkable Service
  • Customer Service Standards
  • Individual Skills Development
  • ‘The Cohesive Team’ Skills Development
  • Action Planning


A key concept that is covered is ‘Moments of Truth’, based on Author Jan Carlzon’s book of the same name. He defines this as

“. . .anytime a customer comes in contact with your organization and thereby forms an impression of it.”

What kind of impressions are your customers forming about your business?

We explore the financial impact of poor, or even average, customer service is and how word-of-mouth behavior of satisfied or dissatisfied customers is often underestimated. With the popularity of social media, word has never travelled more quickly!


Over 80% of customers leave an organization because service was less than remarkable or employees did not go out of their way. Perhaps employees were even rude or did not appear to care. That is a high percentage of customers, not to mention who they may have told about their experience. This turnover in customers cannot be left to chance!


Our focus on individual and cohesive team skills development are taught, allowing employees to understand how important it is to work together and present a consistent and aligned customer service process. Key areas on teamwork include:


  • Trust
  • Conflict
  • Commitment
  • Accountability
  • Results


Great people and organizations take great ideas and make them a reality. Determining what you are committed to improve upon, and planning the time, focus, and resources to meet those goals is important and must be reviewed as often as possible.

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