After having attained the desired service level, the next great challenge faced by service providers is to maintain service standards at levels of excellence. This is as important, and as tough, as establishing service standards and attaining to them in the first place.
There are basically two approaches that any organization can have towards maintaining service standards - a proactive approach or a reactive approach.
Proactive: A proactive approach entails actively reaching out to customers and trying to gather their feedback on service quality and suggested areas of improvement. This can be done by way of
Reactive: A reactive approach basically consists of resorting to a predetermined service recovery mechanism once a customer complains about poor service quality. It usually starts with apologizing to the customer and then taking steps to redeem the situation. The fundamental flaw with this approach is that, here the customer has already had a bad experience of the brands service.
Another crucial element to be kept in mind while seeking to maintain service quality is to have in place a metric for measuring quality. The particular parameters selected would depend on the type of business, service model and the customer expectations. For example: at a customer service call center of a telecom provider, the metric for measuring service quality could be the average time taken for handling a call or rectifying a complaint. For a fast food outlet, the metrics for measuring service quality of the sales staff could be the number of bills generated as a percentage of total customer footfalls or the increase in sales month on month.
Once a system is put in place for measuring quality, a standard can then be mandated for the service standard the organization is seeking to maintain.