Unwritten service standards. Those three words are as much of an oxymoron as jumbo shrimp. They are as useful as bringing sand to the beach, as effective as Congress and make as much sense as being a little pregnant.

If a business cares enough about its customers to create service standards that ensure an exceptional customer experience every time, then they should be written, communicated and enforced.

For example, it’s not enough that your team knows to answer the phone within three rings. They should also know what greeting you prefer they use. If not, your phone could be answered by an out-of-breath employee who dove for the phone only to answer with “Yo, Pete’s Plumbing. Whassup? You clogged up?

Requiring that your employees have an email signature is good. Telling them exactly what to include, line by line, is better. And reminding them of what not to include such as political slogans, religious icons or even college or pro sport logos – is awesome. No one cares that Beth in accounts receivable is a libertarian Scientologist and die hard Norwegian Curling team fan.

Requesting that your customers’ emails and phone calls be returned in a timely matter is the equivalent to letting the inmates run the asylum. While most employees will understand that before the end of the day is a reasonable time frame, there’s always some new age free thinker in IT who wants to debate “What is time anyway, man? Let’s not inflict ourselves with this self-imposed oppression.” Whatever, just go return those emails. NOW!

Demanding that customers be greeted within seconds on entering your business is a good standard. However, unless you add the addendum that an employee must also get up and walk over to the patron, you might as well give him license to shout, “Hey, I’m Jon. Let me know if you need anything” as the glow from his smartphone bathes his uncaring face and the click, click, click generated by his furiously texting digits fills the air. Let’s face it, unless a customer wants to engage Jon in a friendly game of Words with Friends, his attention isn’t available.

Eating in common areas. Chewing gum on the sales floor. Post meeting correspondence. Proposal follow-up. These are just some of the many service standards that need to be clearly defined, communicated and enforced if they are going to make an impact on the customer experience you want your brand to deliver.

Do you need help establishing reasonable yet impactful service standards that can be implemented and measured? Contact Electrum Branding in a timely manner….that really means before the end of the day, today!