6 Levels of Service

We have talked about this before, and talked about it on YouTube. The 6 levels of service are the fundamentals to delivering outstanding service, and understanding what it takes to deliver an experience that will differentiate yourself from your competitors. I always hear from my rideshare colleagues that they are worried about the over-saturation of drivers in their marketplace. I say embrace it. And then, be better than they are. You will stand out, and by comparison be a delight to your customer. Remember, your competition is the person your customer rode with last week, last month, last year. Be better than they are, and you will reap the benefits of tips and higher ratings.

So how do you know how well you stack up against them? That’s where the 6 levels of service come into play. I am going to run through each level (out of order, to make a point) to help you understand them. In the coming weeks, we will dive deeper into each one.

Lets start near the bottom with Basic. It’s foundational, plain, simple, limited, minimum. It is the absolute minimum. A basic level of service is picking up your customer 5 minutes late, you are probably on your phone, your car doesn’t smell good, you miss a turn and you toss them out of your car at their destination. You got them from point A to point B, but that’s it.

One step above that is Expected. This is average, the usual, common or standard. Expected service is an on-time pickup, in a clean, neutral smelling car, confirming your destination and dropping your customer off right where they want. According to your customer, this is what they pay their fare for.

One step above that is Desired. This is what people prefer. What do you prefer? This is a ride just like the expected ride, except when your customer gets in your car they smell a pleasant aroma like lavender, jasmine or lemon. Nice touch. A couple minutes into the ride you ask, “Is there anything I can do to make your ride more comfortable?”. Nothing groundbreaking, but clearly a little better than the expectations.

One step above that is Surprising. This is something unexpected, but your customer likes it. This is a ride with all the pleasures of the desired ride, and a little something that was truly unexpected. Say you are driving your customer to the airport. Why not offer them a pack of gum for the flight so they do not need to stop at the news stand? This is both thoughtful and unexpected. And cost you about 10 cents.

Surprising can bite both ways though. Say you offer this customer gum, but they already have gum. If they take the pack, it is actually waste. Maybe they keep it, maybe they don’t, but your desired effect didn’t happen. However, they will still probably appreciate the gesture, but in order to fully surprise someone, you need to determine what they value and take action to create that value for them.

The highest level of service is Outstanding. This level of service makes you say words like incredible, unbelievable, extraordinary. Think of all the positive lasting memories you have of companies. It is probably a result of outstanding service.

So your customer is on a surprising (in a good way) ride, and you take one step up. You provide a cell phone charger and AUX cable coming out of the center console, and a seatback sign showing all your promises, which listed your rideshare business Facebook and Instagram pages. Your customer immediately went to your page, and learned a little something about you. What is the one unique thing you do or can do that will make you outstanding?

So you might be asking, what is the worst level of service? We call that criminal. This level of service is horrible, terrible and unacceptable. Imagine you show up late. As your customer approaches your car you realize they have luggage. Well, you have a full trunk and not enough room in the backseat and front to fit the luggage. You cancel the ride and drive away. This is criminal, because unlike in the other levels, you did not fulfill on the product. You did not drive your customer from point A to point B, and they needed to request another ride. While this might not directly impact you in ratings, it makes the entire community look bad, and will indirectly impact you in the future, due to a diminished customer perception.

Notice how most of these things to up your level of service do not cost anything, or at least a very low investment? Learn and understand your market, and decide what you can do to take action to create value for your customers. According to your customers, this is the only way to earn tips. Fight it or learn from it, the choice is yours.

And if you really want to go down the wormhole of the 6 levels of service, watch Ron Kaufman talk about it. It is both eye opening and inspiring.