Among the main parameters that affect the efficiency and effectiveness of newly introduced standards is how current employees have learnt innovations. The procedure for the implementation of new standards requires diligent and thoughtful work. You can use different scenarios, but the main objective is to communicate to the personnel the mandatory requirements for each of them.
For example, you can find the following situation when employees are reported: “In the past you worked that way, so now we work differently. Who will work in a new way is good for them.” This position is fundamentally wrong and a loss for the company. Employees may perceive the need to implement new standards as a reason to increase wages, etc. In this perspective, it is better to consider service standards as a kind of job description which don’t imply any additional remuneration.
In fact, service standards are an addition to the job manual of an employee. The job description regulates the activity of sales assistants. For example, it may contain a paragraph: “The employee shall serve the buyer qualitatively.” Accordingly, the question arises: “What is quality?” » And the quality of service is regulated by the relevant industry standards.
If the job description is a document, required in terms of labor relations between the employee and the employer, the service standards are more related to internal administrative documents. It is not a secret that in order to effectively control the quality of service, each stage of cooperation should be detailed and standardized.
Corporate quality standards are internal documents regulating the order and the execution of the job by the employee. In this document, some mandatory items for staff are disclosed and specified with vivid examples. Your employees must understand how to behave when interacting with clients.
Service standards - the concept and development
What about service standards? They cannot be considered a single event or a business process. In fact, the standards of service are a direct projection of the company’s overall strategy and corporate culture. Even outside experts will not be able to establish standards in isolation from other business processes. As a minimum, it will be a template that can be further extended and expanded upon.
However, it is rather difficult to develop service standards independently, and it is very difficult to overcome stamps and templates developed over the years. If you have been in this environment for a long time, it will be difficult to rescind and look at the standards with fresh eyes. It is better to hire a specialist and entrust these serious matters to professionals.
Besides this, the involvement of outside experts can significantly accelerate the development and deployment process of new service standards. Often, the company’s current affairs distract management, and standards are “saved for a rainy day”. Or even worse, the standards are given to personnel under a signed receipt, without appropriate explanations and training. As a result, employees do not understand the essence of the implemented standards and the service system doesn’t work.
If you choose to engage an outside consultant, he simply must finish the job and achieve the desired result. All activities are carried out on the basis of a contractual relationship that allows you to work with maximum efficiency in terms of time and material costs.
How to check the effectiveness of the service system
When developing and implementing new standards of service, it is important to consider how they apply to the real, current client service system. For further tests of effectiveness, you can use a variety of tools. One of the most common methods of service validation is the so-called “test purchasing.”
Method of test purchasing
This method of service testing is anonymous, without employee notification. That is why it can be considered a test which reveals the effectiveness of existing standards.
You can make test purchasing at the individual level, to test the performance of individual sales consultants. This check reveals the personal reserves of employees, as well as the degree of knowledge of newly introduced standards and their ability to apply them in practice. Such test purchases are carried out at the level of stores and other retail spaces, which allow evaluation of not only individual employees, but also the work of the whole store.
When you have initial indicators of the service level, you can assess their level of conformity to implemented standards.
Typically, as a result of test purchasing, management feels a shock and is ready to fire all employees. This approach is wrong. If your staff is not trained in the new standards and does not know how to apply them in practice, there is no reason for dismissal or punishment. It is much better to use various tests to identify the problem areas and adjust the existing service standards. Only thorough practice should precede the approval of new standards.
For training the personnel on new standards, a variety of methods should be used, including:
- Publications in corporate manuals;
- Competitions and contests for employees;
- Involvement of trainers for the training of personnel;
- The introduction of mentoring programs;
- Use of motivational programs, etc.
The way staff perceives new standards
More often than not, new standards are met with reluctance by staff - it shows a basic human resistance to anything new. The procedure for implementing new service standards has always been associated with some difficulties. It is ideal if service standards are introduced at an early stage of development of the trade brand. When it comes to the implementation of new standards for already existing production, be ready for some resistance from staff.
It is necessary to begin the introduction of new standards by creating specialized working groups, which should include all department managers and key employees. By involving not only management, but also consultants and sales personnel in the work, you give them a sense of belonging and connection to what is happening. In this situation, the new standards do not appear suddenly; they will be the result of joint productive work.
Regarding the timing of the introduction of new service standards, experience shows that this requires an average of 2 to 5 months. The main thing to remember is that all the changes and innovations must be considered carefully. You will have to work with human resources, and that always requires a responsible and comprehensive approach.