Deflation of Standards in Customer Service

In customer service and business in general, there is often a deflation of standards. The deflation of standards shows that more often than not, a customer is happy talking to someone they can understand and that can generally fix their issue. They aren’t expecting bells and whistles (polite representatives, short hold times, etc.). The customer just wants his or her issue resolved.

This is obviously a deflation of standards. The bar is set very low. The customer goes into the experience with low expectations. If the company can meet the low expectations, then they can deliver an acceptable level of customer service. Taking customer service to the next level is what this blog is generally about.

An expectation that many customers have is to receive a reply to their question very promptly. Or to receive a follow up very promptly. Or to get to a person very promptly. People are really impatient – so if you can be prompt, that’s often enough.

As a customer service company that is better than most (right?), you can use these lowered standards to your advantage. You can be more than just prompt. Your replies can also be courteous and informative.

A goal for your company should be this: exceed the expectations.

Instead of just being prompt:

  • be courteous
  • be informative

Instead of just saying you will do something:

  • do it
  • do more than you say you will
  • go beyond the call of duty

And of course you get the gist. To set yourself apart as a customer service organization, you cannot let the deflation of standards get to you. Responding quickly is fine, but it isn’t enough to be anything but average. To be beyond average, to be an exceptional customer service company, you have to go above and beyond.

What are your thoughts about expectations customers have when it comes to customer service?

(I used the image because it was somewhat related and I think that Cingular/AT&T’s raising the bar campaign was really clever.)