Ron Kaufman, author of Uplifting Service, defines service as “Taking action to create value for someone else.” Giving the customer what they want or need can get confusing. I’ve found that Kaufman’s “Six Levels of Service” model reduces the confusion with simple words and operational defninitions:

Level 1 – Criminal – this means you broke a promise – violating minimum expectations

Level 2 – Basic – the bare minimum – disappointing – this level of service leads to frustration – it’s late, slow, incomplete, or impolite

Level 3 – Expected – got to end result but nothing special (this level of industry-standard service used to be considered acceptable)

Level 4 – Desired – people hope for and prefer – service that is delivered just the way another person likes it

Level 5 – Surprising – like an unexpected gift – you must really understand what the person you are serving really values

Level 6 – Unbelievable – astonishing and fantastic – people never forget – these are acts of deeply passionate organizations that pride themselves on delivery of extraordinary service.

Different people value different things (captain obvious moment) such as (1) quality, (2) ease/speed/convenience, (3) attitude/friendliness, or (4) relationship (vs. transaction).

 Ron categorized these as:

(1) Primary (Product/Offering)

(2) Delivery System

(3) Service Mindset

(4) Ongoing Relationship

The experience is created by all 4 categories. Remember “taking action to create value for someone else” applies internally as well. Think for a moment…How much do you understand about someone else; know what they desire in order to provide and take action that creates value. What’s your definition for service? Where can you create more value for customers or colleagues? How can you step it up a level?

And in Ron’s own voice on why this matters, here’s a link to the 2015 interview of Ron by Verne Harnish at the Scale Up Summit UP! Your Service.

 Let’s think differently about service as a value creator not just something we do.

Stay curious.