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A recent project of mine involved rating and comparing companies based on their level of customer service. I began with a basic rating scale of 1-5 (with one being bad and five excellent), but then I decided to get a bit more creative. I came up with descriptive names for the levels of service.

Five Levels of Service

1. Unacceptable

This may be a kind term for some of the more terrible examples of customer service, but it encompasses any service that is unacceptable for any reason.

2. Basic

Minimum standards and commodity.

3. Good

This category contains what customers would call “satisfactory” service.

4. World Class

Taking a big jump from satisfactory, in the eyes of the customer your company is superior to others in the industry.

5. Trademark

At the top of the game. You set the benchmarks for the industry.

You can use this rating system to perform a self-assessment of your business and your personal standing. Consider the following questions and honestly evaluate your situation. If you do not deal with outside customers, think about how you serve your internal customer.

  • What level of service does your company provide for your customers or clients? What level of service do you personally provide?
  • In terms of the descriptive levels of service, how would you describe yourself?
  • Where do other companies in your industry fall in the levels of customer service?
  • What about companies outside your industry? Assign them to the levels of service.
  • Consider the companies that you have assigned to the “World Class” and “Trademark” levels (inside and outside your industry). What qualities do they have that you could emulate?
  • If you are not at the “Trademark” level (and very few are), what steps can you take to move closer to the top? What would you have to do to get all the way there?

Use these questions as a springboard for discussion and goal setting. Remember the following points:

The quest for great service never ends. Even after reaching the “Trademark” level, it is an ongoing process you should always be striving to improve.

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About Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is a customer experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession.

Shep works with companies and organisations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more articles on customer service and business, go to

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