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Delivering World-Class Service Part 3:
Company Service Standards
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by Bryan K. Williams, September 2008

Last month, I wrote about personal service standards and introduced a pocket-sized card to assist with writing such standards.  For this article, however, the focus will be on developing company-wide service standards.  When building a strong service culture, it is important to have an inspiring vision and mission statement; but they only provide the context.  Service standards, on the other hand, are the “nuts and bolts” of how you serve.  They are the specific behaviors that you expect from yourself and your team in the ongoing journey to deliver engaging service.  Standards such as “I attentively listen to others” and “I will always give a gracious goodbye”, are clear and apply to everyone from the CEO to the housekeeper. 

For service standards to be viewed as credible, they must be discussed frequently.  They have to be spoken about everyday and used as the basis for recognition, appraisals and constructive feedback.  Let’s assume that one of your standards is “Every team member will maintain an impeccably clean work environment”.  If one of your employees walks past a crumpled piece of paper on the floor, that is a great opportunity to discuss that particular service standard.  The same applies if a service standard is “I will own and immediately resolve customer complaints, then follow up to ensure customer satisfaction”.  Talk about that standard when you are recognizing your staff for taking ownership of customer issues and following through.  Also use that standard when providing constructive feedback when the opposite is true.  The point is to make the service standards more than just another concoction dreamed up by senior management.

Here are a few easy-to-follow steps when developing or refining service standards:

1. Identify what your customers expect and how they want to be served (Don’t assume!).  If you don’t have a market research department, then conduct your own research by informally surveying your existing customer base.  You can start by hosting focus groups.  The point is to become crystal clear on what your customers expect from you.

2. Be clear on what type of service your company is promising to deliver.  Ensure that your advertisements and other branding messages are consistent with the quality of service you can consistently deliver.

3. Assemble a cross-functional team who will review the collected customer data and begin drafting some preliminary service standards.  (Note: be sure to have a senior leader as a member or at least a key sponsor/advocate of this cross-functional team).

4. Get senior leadership input on the preliminary service standards.

5. Revise the preliminary service standards based on senior leadership input (if needed).

6. Share the revised service standards with the company to get more input (remember: the workforce is more likely to embrace anything new or different if they are involved in the developmental process).
7. Revise the service standards again (if needed).

8. Determine how the service standards will be deployed to the workforce (new employee orientation, cards, posters, screen savers, etc.)

9. On a periodic basis, review the service standards for continued relevancy.  This is a great exercise during the strategic planning period

10. In addition to the steps listed above, another great resource to find service standards are the personal service standards already written by your staff.

Use these company service standards to dictate how service is provided on a daily basis.  Investing the time and resources to develop, implement, and reinforce service standards will reap enormous rewards in the form of higher morale and more engaged customers.

UPDATES:
• The new “Personal Service Commitments” cards are now available. Order yours today!
• Join Bryan for a free Webinar on Thursday, September 25th at 2PM EST.
• Take advantage of the $10 sale on the EngageMe DVD and Poster

About the Author 
Bryan K. Williams is the Chief Service Officer of B. Williams Enterprise, LLC.  He is a seasoned service expert who has facilitated workshops and delivered keynotes all over the world for various companies.  Bryan speaks on a variety of topics related to service excellence, employee engagement, and organizational improvement.  As a consultant, he works closely with companies to design, develop, and implement sustainable service strategies. 

About B. Williams Enterprise, LLC 
B. Williams Enterprise, LLC is a consulting, training, & auditing company which focuses on service excellence.  The goal is to assist organizations to enhance their levels of customer service to world-class levels.  This can only be achieved by focusing on service excellence as a way of doing business, rather than an "initiative of the month".  Service excellence must be weaved throughout the organization...at every level. 

We exist to serve others so they may better serve the world. SM

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Contact:

B. Williams Enterprise, LLC 
Website: www.bwenterprise.net
Email:  info@bwenterprise.net 
Phone: 240-401-6958 

EngageMe…the voice of your customer 
Website: www.engagemenow.com
Email: info@engagemenow.com

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Also See: Delivering World-Class Service Pt. 2: Personal Service Standards / Bryan K. Williams / September 2008
Delivering World-Class Service: Function vs. Purpose / Bryan K. Williams / August 2008
Guest Problem Resolution 101: Power of the Follow-Up / Bryan K. Williams / June 2008
7 Principles to Fully Engage Your Customers – Part 2 / Bryan K. Williams / May 2008
7 Principles to Fully Engage Your Customers / Bryan K. Williams / April 2008
I Am a Service Professional™ / Bryan K. Williams / March 2008
Engage Every Customer…One Touchpoint at a Time / Bryan K. Williams / January 2008
Engaging Service Part 2: It’s All About the Culture / Bryan K. Williams / December 2007
Engaging Service Part 1: Not Just for the Chic / Bryan K. Williams / November 2007
Service Excellence: A Destination or a Journey? / Bryan K. Williams / October 2007
National Customer Service Week is Coming Soon - October 1-5, 2007 / September 2007
National Customer Service Week is Coming Soon - October 1-5, 2007 / September 2007
Engage Me…the Voice of Your Customer www.engagemenow.com / September 2007
Customer Engagement: Where do we begin? / Byran K Williams / August 2007
Engage Me…the Voice of Your Customer / www.engagemenow.com / August 2007
B. Williams Enterprise, LLC Launches Engage Me…  the Voice of Your Customer / August 2007
To Engage…Listen to the Voice of Your Customer / Byran K Williams / August 2007
To Engage the Guest, You Must Engage Those Who Directly Serve the Guest / Byran K Williams / July 2007
Three Service Rules: The Golden Rule, Platinum Rule, and Double Platinum Rule/ Byran K Williams / June 2007
The Greatest Bellman I Ever Met… / Bryan K. Williams / April 2006
Sorry to Say…But Some People Should Not be Serving Other Human Beings / Bryan K Williams / October 2006
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