“It is proven that delighted customers have a higher willingness to pay and are more likely to repurchase and recommend the respective service. In the present situation of increasing competition and growing customer demands, service excellence is a topic of high interest. By providing outstanding customer experiences, companies can delight their customers and enhance the success of their service business. In sum, it is a win-win situation for companies delivering and customers receiving excellent services”, Prof. Matthias Gouthier, chair of CEN/ TC 420.
Companies often claim they put the customer at the centre of their business. Clearly, they need to surpass just delivering the basics services and products by putting the customer experience at the core of their organization. To be successful and a leading competitor, they need to establish a culture of delighting customers by offering them an outstanding experience. This is the aim of service excellence!
Service excellence at EU level
The European Standardization Committee, CEN, carried out standardization activities on service excellence within CEN TC/420, the Technical Committee on ‘Service Excellence Systems’. CEN TC/420 focused on developing a structured approach in order to provide an outstanding customer experience through individual and surprising services. The approach reflects the nine elements of the service excellence model for EU businesses. Leading organizations representing different services sectors took part in this exercise:
- consultancy services,
- manufacturing industries (car and mechanical engineering).
The outcome of this standardization project was published by CEN as a Technical Specification, CEN/TS 16880 ‘Service excellence - Creating outstanding customer experiences through service excellence’ in December 2015.
The structured approach in CEN/TS 16880 helps companies “future-proof” their services by building and sustaining their capacity to adapt, transform and renew themselves.
At international level
EN ISO 9001 ‘Quality management’ and ISO 10002 ‘Quality management - Customer satisfaction - Guidelines for complaints handling in organizations’ outline a pyramid of excellence. The two lower levels of this pyramid are the foundation for implementing service excellence.
The European approach described above entails key principles, elements, relevance, and benefits for organizations willing to go the extra mile to create an outstanding customer experiences and is applicable in any service business to generate customer delight.
This standardization work was carried out under the convenorship of the German Institute for Standardization (DIN), who intend to take CEN/TS 16880 one step further by proposing the service excellence topic to ISO before the end of 2016.