By Greg Coleman, Service Strategies Corporation
Service organizations today are forever striving to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving operational effectiveness, and management generally believes the rewards of their efforts are the goal. While improving effectiveness is important, these organizations should also work to leverage service excellence as a hallmark of their corporate brand. When you effectively market service excellence to internal and external stakeholders or prospects, your company can differentiate itself from competitors and strengthen its credibility, as well as improve the perceived value of its products and services.
Regardless of market segment, your company’s brand perception is critical to its ongoing success. You can easily identify market leaders by their brands, which represent quality. Brands can have a profound impact on employees, prospects, customers, and shareholders alike and can strongly influence perceptions of a business’s products and services. Most importantly, strong brands bestow value far beyond the performance of the products themselves. Effective brands are worthy of customer loyalty: the more inspiring the brand, the more intense the commitment.
Service excellence is a core component of a successful brand. Companies that value this core attribute are among the most successful in the marketplace. Service is an area where the core qualities of a brand are directly experienced by customers. Companies that employ best practices within their service organizations tend to be far more effective in delivering a superior customer experience. This fact is well recognized and its importance underscored by the popular pursuit of third party acknowledgement and certification of service excellence.
Standards programs such as the Service Capability & Performance (SCP) Standards, which provide a best practice framework and certification for customer support, field service, and professional services operations, offer an excellent example of third party recognition for meeting industry standards of service excellence. Participating in industry standards programs can help your organization enhance service quality through adoption of proven best practices. By focusing on meeting the requirements defined by such standards programs, which place an emphasis on areas such as service delivery processes, performance measures, staff development and others, service excellence can be achieved and customer loyalty built and protected.
While many brand elements are intangible, quality service and support are experienced on an immediate personal level and leave a lasting impression. The perception of service excellence contributes to increased customer satisfaction, increased new business, repeat business, and long-term profitability. Standards programs provide the additional and very important benefit of a marketable brand credential. If you do not currently participate in an industry standards or certification program, ask yourself if your company is taking advantage of its most valuable asset – its brand. Are your employees aligned to the brand promise of delivering service excellence? Can you leverage your credentials to strengthen your brand and increase loyalty?
In summary, marketing your service excellence will enable you to stand out from the competition and demonstrate an ongoing commitment to quality. Investing in best practices and leveraging standards and certification programs go a long way to ensuring substantial brand credentials that will pay ongoing dividends in brand loyalty in the future. Building your brand with service excellence at its core will result in the creation of one of your company’s principal assets.
About the Author
Greg Coleman is a principal partner and vice president of Strategic Programs for Service Strategies Corp. Residing in San Diego, CA, Mr. Coleman has more than 25 years of experience in the high-technology services and customer experience fields. Mr. Coleman has worked with leading technology services organizations to develop and deploy global standards for service excellence and has assessed the performance of hundreds of organizations worldwide. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.