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ServiceMark the standard for strategic excellence

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ServiceMark is the National Customer Service Standard from the Institute of Customer Service. It is an organisational accreditation scheme achieved through a combination of online diagnostics, analysis and actions followed by assessment through independent site visits. It is an opportunity for organisations, whatever their size or position in the market, to develop service capability and demonstrate their commitment to delivering excellent customer service.

Model for World-Class Service The elements are inter-related and must be integrated, updated and constantly reviewed to meet the needs of your organisation, your customers, your stakeholders and the changing competitive or financial environment.

The basis for many of the Institutes resources is based around evidence that world-class customer service delivery has to embrace three areas or dimensions of an organisation: • Strategy and culture

The requirements of the Institute’s model apply equally to large and small organisations in the public, private or third sectors whether the delivery channel is traditional or e-service.

• People • Processes

The three Dimensions are split into six Elements which are defined as principles and not as rigid operational practices because it is recognised that other factors help to determine how any organisation implements the Institute’s Model and brings it to life.


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m om

g y & Cu l t u

it y

r Capability




te n






Reputation Performance Growth Profitability Trust




C a p a b i li t y

Pro c

Processes are designed from a customer’s viewpoint and are consistently delivered

te tra


World Class Customer Service



Cred i


Promises are kept and superb service recovery systems are in place


Creativity Continuous improvement and innovation are nurtured and encouraged to flourish

e itm



Service quality is a key corporate value, with associated goals, action programmes, measurement and top-level accountabilities

u ti n

it y

People are recruited and developed against competencies that give high priority to customerfocused attitudes

Continuity Retention, reward and recognition strategies focus on world-class service delivery

Improving service levels brings several key benefits: • opportunity to develop service capability

• increase customer referrals and advocacy

• demonstrate commitment to customer service

• staff satisfaction improvements

• increase profitability (or more efficient resource productivity)

• reduce staff turnover • the opportunity to display the ServiceMark logo declaring that the national customer service standard has been met and that the organisation is committed to delivering ongoing service excellence.

• improve customer retention reducing the cost to serve per customer

ServiceMark™ accredited


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Achieving and Maintaining ServiceMark • following accreditation the ongoing commitment to ServiceMark must be measured during the three year accreditation period which starts from the date of the assessment report. If this measurement is not undertaken the ServiceMark accreditation will be withdrawn. As the accredited organisation you should complete the following:

• meet a minimum benchmark score of 65 from the Institutes ServCheck online ‘internal diagnostics’ tool and develop appropriate action planning based on the results • meet a minimum benchmark score of 65 from either the Institute’s UKCSI Business Benchmarking or your own source of survey (which will be subject to specific criteria) and develop appropriate action plans based on the results

o re-visit the ServCheck and customer satisfaction measurement diagnostics surveys at least once during the second year of the accreditation period and provide survey results to the Institute; local Account Directors will provide support to organisations where scores fall below the required level during the interim review to ensure continuity of progress for the re-accreditation process

o undertake the ServCheck survey, the customer satisfaction measurement survey and the assessment visits prior to the third year anniversary to maintain the ServiceMark accreditation.

• satisfy an independent Institute ServiceMark assessor to include:

o pre-assessment of the ServCheck and UKCSI results and associated action plans

o on-site assessment visit, interviews with selected employees

o assessment of action plans, evidence that actions have been progressed and where possible that some actions have been completed


UKCSI Business Benchmarking / or Customer Satisfaction Measurement

Results reports

Action Plans to be sent to the Institute with copies of CSM data prior to assessment

Assessment visit


Interim review

Re-accreditation 4

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• an example of a week by week guide to how ServiceMark should be achieved in 6 months.

co-ordinator receives confirmation of ServCheck application and link for distribution via email to staff

Week 1

identify ServiceMark Co-ordinator

complete application process

Week 2-3

co-ordinator receives daily updates of ServCheck progress

view UKCSI progress link

Week 4

email received from the ServCheck system when the required number of responses has been achieved - view reports

UKCSI responses complete - co-ordinator receives results from the Institute of Customer Service

Week 5-8

share ServCheck results and action plans with appropriate teams in the business

use ServCheck benchmarking data to identify strengths and areas for development

use UKCSI results to develop action plans

Week 9-16

start to implement action plan items

send action plans to the Institute

the Institute will contact the assessors for the final stages of the accreditation process

Week 17

independent assessor contacts the co-ordinator to arrange the assessment visits

Week 23

assessment visit(s)

Week 24

assessor sends report to the Institute with recommendation

Week 25

the Institute contacts the co-ordinator with the final accreditation decision

receive portal link from research agency and upload customer email addresses

for customer response consider boosting response numbers


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Frequently Asked Questions 1. How long does it take to achieve ServiceMark?

5. What is the minimum and maximum size of organisation that can undertake ServiceMark?

The time to complete the process is dependent on efficient data collection, reviewing results, committing to action plans and the implementation of the action plans. A four month timescale is realistically achievable, however the maximum time for achievement is 6 months from the start of the surveys; the assessment must be in place to review the internal and external survey results no later than six months from the start date of the first survey, either the internal or external, whichever commences first.

ServiceMark is available to all sizes of organisations with more than 20 employees; the accreditation is available with the component parts to facilitate multiple site organisations that wish to benchmark internally and identify ‘best practice’ within its own organisation. 6. C  an our organisation undertake our own customer satisfaction survey and use the results as part of the ServiceMark accreditation?

2. When is my organisation likely to be ready for the ServiceMark assessment?

Yes, your organisation’s own customer satisfaction measurement is acceptable for the ServiceMark accreditation and this fits with the Institute’s philosophy of not imposing additional frameworks in place of the organisation’s own.

The starting point is that ServCheck and UKCSI Business Benchmarking results meet the ServiceMark benchmark score of at least 65 and each dimension of the ServCheck survey score is more than 60. All surveys used should be no more than 6 months old when action plans are submitted for assessment. Your organisation should be ready to provide tangible evidence to the assessors that improvement plans have been substantially implemented.

It would need to be of equivalent rigour and approved by the institute; it will be considered as acceptable for ServiceMark providing it satisfies the following criteria:

• the survey methodology meets Market Research Society guidelines (see

• the survey questions are based on the researched service priorities of the organisation’s customers which are reviewed at least every four years

• the survey questions are rated on a minimum 7-point and preferably on a 10-point numerical scale

• the survey achieves a response of at least 100

• the targeted audience is chosen randomly

4. Can my organisation obtain additional copies of the ServiceMark plaque?

• the respondents are representative of the customer base

Yes, additional plaques can be made available and are chargeable. Please refer to your Account Director for the current prices.

• the survey is repeated at least annually

• an overall score must be calculated using the weighted scores to each of the questions.

3. What happens when my organisation achieves ServiceMark? The Service Administrator advises your organisation by email that the assessment has been achieved and will send a copy to the Account Director. You will be entered onto the ServiceMark register at which time you will be permitted to use the ServiceMark logo on your stationery and website. A dated plaque will be provided for the Account Director to present to your organisation.

7. What happens if we don’t complete the surveys during the second year of accreditation?

The ServiceMark accreditation will be withdrawn.


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contact us at: Institute of Customer Service 2 Castle Court, St Peter’s Street, Colchester, Essex CO1 1 EW 01206 571 716

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the standard for strategic excellence. It is an organisational accreditation scheme achieved through a combination of online diagnostics, an...