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The definition of customer service is one who aids or provides help to the purchaser of a good or service”.   Customer service standards are what supports good customer service and should be incorporated into an organization�™s customer service strategy Service standards lay a framework by which employees behave and respond to all customer groups. 

Customers fall into one of two categories, internal or external.  An internal customer is someone within the organization who depends on another person within the organization to provide a service for them.  External customers are those who purchase a service or product from the organization. 

Following are examples of customer service standards.   Every organization has a different culture and standards should be developed and written based on the internal structure and culture of the organization.  

Customer Service Standards

General Standards

  •  Anticipate the needs of customers by identifying expectations and working toward meeting needs.
  • Exceed expectations of all customer groups.
  • Hold ourselves accountable for organizational service commitment.
  • Be aware of communication style and communication professionally.  Be sensitive to eye contact and tone of voice.
  • Turn off cell phones and PDA�™s during meetings.

 External Customers Defined as:  customers and/or vendors

  •  Listen to customer requests and take immediate action to assist them. 
  • Keep customers informed of any delays in service.
  • Greet all customers in professional and courteous manner.
  • Inform customers on what to expect and normal process time.
  • Respond to website requests and questions by the end of the business day.
  • Respond to job applicants within 24 hours and inform them of process time and when they can expect completion of process.
  • Finish all interactions with customers in professional and courteous manner.

Internal Customers Defined:  employee to employee; those who use services within the organization.

  • Inform customers of typical process time and any delays that may arise.
  • Interact in a professional and courteous manner.
  • Communicate with internal customers by email or phone daily with updates in the process.
  • Work to resolve internal issues with other departments and coworkers by addressing problems and working toward solutions.
  • Demonstrate respect for each other and hold ourselves and each other accountable for appropriate behavior.

Telephone Etiquette

  • Answer the phone within three rings.
  • Identify ourselves when answering the phone.
  • Listen to caller�™s requests and help to answer questions or resolve issues.
  • Ask for caller�™s permission before putting them on hold.
  • Offer to take a message if someone is not available to speak to them.
  • End the call in a courteous manner by thanking the caller.

Voice Mail

  • Update voicemail greeting when out of the office and inform callers of anticipated return and contact person for questions.
  • Respond to all voicemail messages by the end of the business day.


  • Update email out-of-office notification when out-of-office for extended period of time.   Give name of contact person and expected return date.
  • Respond to emails before the end of the business day.

As an employee of ABC Manufacturing, I understand my responsibility to comply with these standards and that my performance appraisal will incorporate my compliance with meeting standards.

 Employee Signature _______________ Date:  __________________

This Business article was written by Kathy Clark on 10/5/2010

Kathy Clark is an MBA who is passionate about helping small business owners see their vision come to life by creating infrastructures that support business development and growth through strategic customer focus. She writes for The Thriving Small Business, which provides small business consulting services.