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Best Practices, Customer Service, Thought Leadership

The Five Levels of Customer Service

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Several years ago, I developed a list of the five levels of customer service. Today, while these categories remain the same, the new social customer has changed dramatically. Average, good, and satisfactory are words that don’t rise to the level of service that is today’s customer expects.

Every business should aim for World Class and Trademark status, because every customer now has the power to affect the opinions of almost 1400 people on social channels, as opposed to the 100 or so they could influence when this list was first published. That is a statistic as telling as anything in the SCRM universe over the past few years.

1. Unacceptable – Bad at all levels. No redeeming balancing factors for the poor quality.

2. Basic – Minimum standards, no cause to complain, but no favorable moments.

3. Good – your customers identify your service as “satisfactory.” They can’t complain, but there were no WOW moments, either.

4. World Class – This is a big jump from good.  It is beyond satisfactory.  Customers think of your company as great.  You create value.  Customers compare you favorably with others in your industry.

5. Trademark – Others are compared to you.  You are the industry benchmark for great
service.  You are the stuff of legends in customer service. The quality and service levels of companies at this level cross over to the general public, even outside their industry, sometimes making it into the lexicon. “What do you think this is, the Ritz?” or “I got myself the Cadillac of haircuts today.”

When You Reach the Top, You’ve Just Begun

While there is no reason any company, in any industry, can’t hit World Class, and even Trademark service levels, you should be aware that attaining that level means you are only beginning. Getting there was the goal, and just the first part of the journey. Sustaining high levels of service is a constant effort.  There will be ups and downs, but there will always be the effort and quest to manage your customers’ and clients’ experiences and create what I call, “Moments of Magic!”

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Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or


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