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Defining service and quality of delivery

Service and quality of delivery are strongly related and underpin the softer elements of customer relationships. However, service carries two meanings. 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 where delivery is reliable and requires minimal interaction.

Service and quality of delivery

When many people talk about customer relationships, often what they mean are the service elements that support the relationship. It is important to identify where and what type of service drives customer value and profit.

'Correctness' in terms of quality of delivery is sometimes more important than long contact time - chats, being friendly, taking an interest, listening to someone, doing everything for someone, or making lots of contacts.

"Customer delight" can come from doing the simple things well and quickly, rather than putting on a song and dance. Segmenting your portfolio of customer relationships means looking at where you can standardise service and where you need to customise.

Nonetheless, 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 - a key principle of lean service - doing it right saves cost downstream.

From studying service and quality of delivery, the same service elements come out time and time again. 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 developing, segmenting and managing customer services in customer relationships contact

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