Developing a Customer Service Charter
It is fair to say that no company consciously goes out of its way to provide terrible customer service, although you can be forgiven for thinking so after some of your personal experiences. Why is it then, that service across the board is generally so poor
I believe that one of the main reasons is that very few businesses ever take the time to sit down and specifically develop their own Customer Service Charter. A Customer Service Charter is a well thought out, published statement that becomes the standard against which all aspects of your customer service delivery are benchmarked.
For instance, the Charter could include the company’s commitment to various response times:
- We commit to answering your incoming telephone call within five seconds.
- We commit to being in your home or office to repair your appliance within two hours of receiving your call.
- We return all telephone calls within two (or four, or six) hours.
- We guarantee to be on time. If not the labour component of our service is free.
The charter could also include certain action commitments such as:
- When servicing your car, the interior will be vacuumed and all windows cleaned inside and out.
- Within 48 hours of serving you, a company representative will contact you to ensure that our service met all your expectations.
- We carry your purchases to your car for you.
Customer Charters can also include customer guarantees. One Pizza company promises: “If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your Pizza dining experience, we will re-make your pizza or refund your money.” A famous computer brand promises and commits to despatching your customised computer within 24 hours of receiving your order. A Western Australian law firm provides a satisfaction guarantee for legal services.
The main reason for developing your own Customer Service Charter is that it forces you to develop internal systems that allow you to make such promises in the first place. It ensures you maximise effectiveness in all that you do by constantly reviewing your systems and processes to ensure optimum efficiencies. Customer service charters are also great public relations tools.
The real value of the charter is the regular 90-day review that keeps the document and its intentions current. Such reviews include discussions of customer complaints and how systems can be improved to overcome repetitions. Amendments to systems can then be reflected in the charter. You will be amazed at the many benefits that arise from taking the time to develop your own Customer Service Charter. Your customers will be delighted as well.
Remember, great service happens by design, not by default; by choice, not chance.