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12 Points Of Service

An approach to deliver better service to your customers and, thus, increase sales.
Written Jun 11, 2009, read 965 times since then.


One of my clients had a strong culture of caring for their customers, employees and all other stakeholders. The whole idea was to create the best possible experience for everyone involved, to give others what each would want to receive, to be proud of what the organization offered and share that with anyone and everyone who was interested. This culture of service became the company’s brand and attracted increasing numbers of stakeholders to it.

People were hired because someone saw in them the desire to be of service to others. Employees were empowered to do whatever it took to provide the best possible experience that they would want for themselves. The problem was, the prices of their products were going up and comparable sales were leveling off or going down. There was a push to provide greater value through even better service.

In one store, management worked with the sales staff to come up with “The Twelve Points Of Service.” It was a program, that if followed, would ensure a more complete shopping experience, greater customer satisfaction and, as a consequence, higher sales. The intent was not to systematize the service and take the soul out of it. The management and employees knew would be antithetical to what service was supposed to do. The idea was to create a helpful training  tool to show the salespeople specific ways their attitude of caring could be manifested into actions.

Service improved, and sales, which are a direct reflection and consequence of service, followed. News of this success began to spread across the company. Senior management decreed that it should be rolled out in every store.

In this particular company, the senior management who made the decree probably assumed that the middle managers who would roll it out would ensure that the points of service would not be confused for service itself. But, for the most part, that’s not what happened. Middle managers rolled out the form of the program, not the function. The 12 Points became the script. The salespeople became the actors whose roll it was to recite the script and deliver their lines as written.

It didn’t fly. Ticket sales went up, in the short run, because the salespeople were being more thorough in their offerings. But in the longer run, customer counts softened more as the brand shifted. Salespeople weren’t giving want they wanted to give, and customers weren’t getting what they wanted to get.

Service isn’t something you do. It’s not a series of acts you execute. It’s the outcome of a desire to get people what they want and give them what they need, as one would want and need something for oneself. It’s having something special to share, and wanting to share it with those who want to share it.

Rather than see service as  role to be played, see it as you would in your own home when you are having guests over. Ask yourself, “Why am I throwing this party?” “What do I have to share that would make anyone want to come?” “What do my guests want and need from me? “What do I need to do to prepare for them to make sure they receive that? “How will I make my guests feel welcome and special throughout their whole contact with me?” “How do I want them to feel when they leave?” As a reminder, you can make a list of all the necessary points. But your service doesn’t come from the list, it comes from your heart.

In your business, you’re not inviting in a party of strangers. These are your friends. They already know something about you by the way you have marketed yourself.  Your door is open and they are coming in for a reason. They bring gifts and want to give them to you. They just want what they came for in return. If they have a good time, they’re going to tell their friends about it  and they’re going to want to come back again and again. Make it a great time!

Learn more about the author, George "Duke" Howard.

Comment on this article

  • Logo Apparel & Promotional Products  
Portland, Oregon 
Gary Powell
    Posted by Gary Powell, Portland, Oregon | Jun 12, 2009

    I love this article. "Service doesn't come from the list, it comes from your heart". That totally sums it up for me. So simple yet so very true. The last paragraph is so well written and wonderfully visual in it's concept.