Dimensions of Service


We know that it is six to seven times more costly to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. In addition, 40 percent of consumers stated that they would spend more money with a company that made improvements to the overall customer service experience.

The key to retaining customers and  your business is to create a culture of exceptional customer service. Think about customer service in two dimensions: procedural and personal. The procedural dimension relates to a company’s established processes used to deliver their products and/or services. The personal dimension relates to how employees interact with customers, taking into account factors such as attitude and verbal skills. These two dimensions of service create four types of environments.

Low Procedural / Low Personal

In this environment, service is slow, inconsistent, and disorganized with employees who are insensitive, impersonal, and apathetic. Customers feel that employees don’t know what they are doing and they don’t care.

High Procedural / Low Personal

In this kind of environment, service is effective and efficient but the personal attention is lacking. Customers feel as if they are merely a number to the business. With 70 percent of buying experiences based on how customers feel they are being treated, companies with this environment will experience low customer retention.

Low Procedural / High Personal

Companies with this kind of environment feel warm and friendly but employees don’t know what they are doing. This kind of environment gives customers the impression that the company is friendly but incompetent. New employees will temporarily demonstrate these characteristics until training and experience increase their competence.

High Procedural / High Personal

This balance creates the environment companies should strive to achieve. Knowledgeable employees who provide a high level of personal attention satisfy customers. This kind of environment makes me think of Nordstrom’s where employees are highly competent, empowered, and deliver a high level of personal service.

It is not surprising that we often see employees with high procedural qualities in the customer service department. They are hired and trained to resolve issues. We can expect sales people to have high personal attributes with friendly and helpful skills. The reality is that you need to hire and train for both dimensions of service in every position that touches your customers. This is how you improve the customer experience and your bottom line.



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