Ten Ways Customer Service Development Is Misunderstood

As many marketplaces increasingly commoditise, the significance of delivering excellent customer service increases. That being the case, why do so many organisations deliver poor service making the majority of customer service experiences at best unmemorable and at worst hopeless?


Below we list the most common mistakes organisation make in delivering excellent customer service:

  1. They have no working definition of service, what it is and what it isn’t.
  2. There is no service measurement, no success/failure criteria.
  3. Having nobody on the Board responsible for service success/failure. If everybody is accountable, nobody is accountable.
  4. Service should be hard-wired into performance management across the whole organisation.
  5. Poor understanding of customer requirements. Often an offering is designed around what works for the selling organisation rather than what works for the customer, Bank opening hours being a classic example.
  6. Too much focus on front line exhortation to ‘go the extra mile’. Delivering excellent service cannot be demanded. Delighting the customer comes from discretionary effort; people have to be motivated to want to serve customers brilliantly.
  7. No service design imperative. Excellent service starts with processes, systems, structures and tools not with smile training. All customers would rather receive right first time service delivered to meet their needs from somebody miserable, than a happy smiling person emphasising with them over why there has been a service failure.
  8. The basics done brilliantly are more important than unasked for extras delivered on top of an unachieved minimum.
  9. A dynamic and challenging customer feedback system.
  10. People in front line roles who don’t like people. This is only a fair criticism of them when points 1-9 have been successfully achieved.


Laying out the issues that surround effective service delivery are straightforward, an organisations’ appetite and ability to make it happen is something else.