4 levels of customer service

The 4 levels of customer service: which level are you?

Quality customer service is important for many reasons:

  • It attracts new customers. Just think about all those word-of-mouth referrals from customer who have enjoyed using your service
  • It converts new leads. People want to do business with great people, show them this and you’ll be their business of choice
  • It encourages repeat business. Why would a previous customer ‘shop around’ for another business in your trade when they already know they will get a great experience with yours.

The overall benefit of this, is increased cashflow into your business.

4 levels of customer service

We’ve all said it – “their customer service was” … ”good”, “bad”, “great”, “terrible”.

But what exactly does this mean? Customer service ‘quality’ is very subjective. What one person perceives as “good” customer service, another may perceive as “okay” customer service. This makes it difficult to determine what your true customer service quality is, hence the actions you should take to improve or maintain this.

In a hope to provide some clarity to this ambiguous concept, we have categorised customer service into 4 levels – ‘basic’, ‘expected’, ‘desired’ and ‘unexpected’. While ‘basic’ customer service is simply doing the bare minimum, ‘unexpected’ customer service involves going above-and-beyond.

Let’s delve a little deeper into the 4 customer service levels:

1. Basic 

At the basic level, businesses conduct the minimum necessities required to complete work.

For example:

  • The phone gets answered
  • Jobs are booked in for a specific day
  • There are enough employees to complete the work
  • There is adequate equipment/supplies to complete the work
  • Work is completed properly.

2. Expected

The next level of customer service entails everything that customers perceive as ‘standard’ in your particular trade. These things are presumed to be included in a customer experience.

For example:

  • Lots of service options
  • Informed and friendly employees
  • Timely service.

3. Desired

The third level of customer service includes everything that your customer would love to have or experience when using your service, however if they didn’t experience this, they would not be surprised.

For example:

If you provide a maintenance service a customer would ‘expect’ that you would book them in for a particular day. They may ‘desire’ an exact timeframe and a call when you are on your way, however many other players in your industry don’t provide this so they wouldn’t be shocked if they didn’t receive this.

4. Unexpected

The final level of customer service is ‘unexpected’. This level is for those going above and beyond – something we should all aspire to do if we want to stand out in this increasingly competitive industry. Unexpected customer service adds value that will encourage customer loyalty for years to come.

For example: 

  • Guarantees on work
  • Warrantees on materials
  • Birthday cards
  • Gifts for high average dollar sale customers
  • Membership program with benefits.

What level of customer service does your business provide? Are you meeting the minimum or going above-and-beyond?

And finally, are you happy with your current customer service level?

When you consider the lifetime value of your customers, I know what level I’d aspire to reach!

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