The Canadian Model
of Quality Service
Have “The Leading Edge”
In this day and age, products can be manufactured and sold worldwide with relative ease through many outlets. Services can be easily duplicated or repackaged and offered anywhere. Why should someone buy from you, and not the next guy?
Keep Your Word
Many companies will bandy about buzz words and expressions, like:
our customer is the number one priority;
we exceed customer expectations;
we have a commitment to excellence.
But do they mean it? Do they stand by their word? Hmmm.
People not are impressed by such overused statements. They seem false when everyone is saying them. If you say it, it’s imperative you do it. If you do it, then there’s no need to state it. “Actions speak louder than words.” Your reputation will stand.
Canadians have very high expectations of quality service. We know that a business is there to serve us: the customer. We know that if it’s not up to scratch, we have every right to complain, demand satisfaction, and take our business elsewhere.
Likewise, a company knows it has to win your business and nurture the relationship to maintain your loyalty. A company needs you, more than you need it.
In the UK, I’ve experienced a contrasting perspective. Companies can (and often do) refuse to serve you. Some businesses treat you like they are doing you a massive favour by letting you spend your hard earned cash on their products and services. They’ll serve you in their own time, when it’s convenient to them (like after they’ve finished chatting with a friend who has stopped in for a bit of gossip). They’ll expect you to retreat down the aisle they’ve blocked because they are stacking shelves. They’ll glare at you for ‘rudely’ attempting to lean past them to get your desired item off the shelf.
It’s crazy. A business would not exist if it weren’t for the customer. They should be bending over backwards to assist a customer and make the exchange pleasant. It’s no wonder businesses are closing down. Employees don’t seem to care. Employers aren’t implementing true customer service values.
Here’s an example of an experience at the check out counter in a grocery store in the UK. It’s not always like this at all stores, but it’s happened more often than I can count.
The clerk sits. She doesn’t offer to help pack. She throws products through so quickly, they fall off the counter onto the floor. Instead of stopping, helping, apologizing, she continues, glaring at your inability to keep up the pace. After she’s put everything through the till, she swivels in her chair, checks her fingernails, and sighs, while you try your best to quickly pack your stuff.
Why can’t she help you, or at least offer? Smile? What a difference it would make! Instead, I panic, worried that I’m delaying the next customer, flustered about my inadequacies at packing swiftly. I am utterly stressed.
In Canada, the clerk stands. There is an additional clerk who insists on packing for you because “it’s my job!”, and they do it with expertise: scented products separately. Raw meat separately. Soft things on top. They take it to your car and help you load up. (One time, I was walking home, and they carried my shopping to the edge of the car park for me!)
The Quality Service standards that people expect may vary from person to person. Any service user will know what it means for themselves.
As a business, if you want to truly exceed customer expectations and have an excellent reputation, you need to place your sights way high up there, and consistently reach them, to make sure you tick everyone’s box. You have to be clear about your customer service values, so that your employees are clear what is expected of them. Make it part of their duties to treat customers with the greatest respect. Instill pride at being the best and your business will thrive.
The Canadian Connection
Learn to use the Canadian Model of Quality Service (CMoQS) to improve everyday service to a higher standard of quality. The model involves mastery of A (Attention), C (Capability), and E (Excellence) service styles for flexible use in particular situations.