Measuring Customer Service

By Dan Fortinberry, CAPP

Many years before the advent of my parking career, I was charged with conducting client service visits and completing monthly client service reviews (CSRs). The CSR was a simple questionnaire that attempted to measure the effectiveness of our service delivery model by rating our service on a seven-point Likert scale.

Simple math would indicate that a 3.5 score would be considered satisfactory and the scores to either side would tilt the scale to better or worse. However, after studying and researching the reasoning behind the numbers, I found the only real scores that mattered were on the opposites sides of the scale. A one meant we were in trouble and a seven meant—wait for it—we were simply delivering the service we originally stated we would. I found that the difference between the original stated and agreed-upon expectations and the actual service delivery determined a high or low score.

This understanding has given me (and those who understand that the gap between expectations and actual service drives perception) a strategic advantage in the area of customer service. With this information, I strive to:

  • Set realistic expectations at the beginning.
  • Agree with the client or customer about the expectations.
  • Ensure those tasked with the service delivery understand the expectations.
  • Measure and track service delivery often.

Parking is a service and there are expectations—just ask everyone who parks a car!

Dan Fortinberry, CAPP, is parking division manager with the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.

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