Service and relationships

Across a range of business and product types, the same issues come up again and again when it comes to defining good service and getting good service as part of the business relationship. There are actually two views of service. The first is a friendly-face type service where staff take the time to be interested and helpful. This is the most common perception of 'good service'. But good service can also be 'no service' - the speedy accurate delivery of what the customer wants, often with no apparent person involved - think of utilities.

Our Quality of Service Reviews are designed to help businesses measure the service they provide against specific levels of performance enabling a supplier to correct habitual problems and tailor individual level service for each customer.

Service and relationships

When many people talk about relationships, often what they mean are the service elements that support the relationship. There is a tendency to overcomplicate and believe that good service means long contact time - chats, being friendly, taking an interest, listening to someone waffle on, doing everything for someone, lots of contacts.

Certainly some caution is needed in driving your business towards "customer delight" as often this just means doing the simple things well and quickly, rather than putting on a song and dance. Managing your portfolio of customer relationships means looking at where you can standardise service and where you need to customise.

But many service elements are "free" in that good service is also good business. Being quick, not making errors, doing things first time, being efficient all make for a more effective business and better service. Being friendly costs nothing and getting to the point is extremely valuable.

In our work the same service elements in relationships come out time and time again (test your company with our quality of service self-test). Excluding price/credit essentially core elements of service in a relationship include:

  • Product meeting requirements
  • Product free from defects
  • Products designed with thought for their use
  • Short lead times
  • Deliveries arriving on time
  • Deliveries in full
  • Straightforward information
  • Regular (not frequent) communication
  • A single initial point of contact
  • Someone who understands what we need
  • A welcoming manner
  • Getting through quickly/minimal queues
  • Fast, accurate and up-to-date information
  • A call being passed on no more than once
  • Being called back when necessary
  • Delivering on promises
  • Someone taking ownership
  • Resolving a problem quickly
  • Being warned if there are delays/problems
  • Accepting returns graciously
  • Getting the paperwork right
  • Making the purchase easy to manage
  • Someone who's willing to help us out
  • A recognition of loyalty and quid-pro-quos
  • Providing us with the best value product
  • A desire to learn, listen and improve

Because so many of these key service elements are similar across a wide range of product types and industries we can provide standardised Quality of Service Reviews that enable you to measure the levels of service you are giving on a cost-effective basis.

For help and advice on building customer services and customer relationships contact