“How Good or Bad is the Service You Provide” by Ron Kaufman

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Transcript of “How Good or Bad is the Service You Provide”, from a keynote speech by Ron Kaufman for the SWIFT Operational Forum Asia event in Singapore.

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How good or bad is the service you provide? Who has the answer to that question? Let’s go back to the definition. Service is taking action to create value for… someone else. How good or bad is the service you provide? Who has the answer?



Right. Not you. It’s their point of view and you know what? They don’t talk in language of KPIs and Revenue Flows and Net Promoter Scores. No, no, no. They talk in emotional language. They say things like, “Pretty good”, which is pretty good unless they say, “pretty good”, which is actually not bad. But then if they say, “Not bad”, that’s pretty good. We need a better language.

So, I invented something called ‘The Six Levels of Service’ which gives us a language that we can use to describe and communicate with each other about the experience of service that someone else gets from the action that we take. And it starts near the bottom. The word here is BASIC. It’s the bare minimum. It’s when you do something for someone, but it’s late. It’s incomplete. It’s impolite. But eventually, they get what they need. And we say it like this – BASIC. Everyone, together. Ready, go. BASIC.

And that’s not where we want to be. So, let’s take a step up. Above basic is normal. It’s average. It’s standard. It meets the service level agreement. It follows expectations. It’s called ‘EXPECTED’. Here’s how to say this one. Cross your arms please. Cross your arms. Take the sound of your voice and move it up in your nose. Like this, “EXPECTED”. One more time. One, two, three. EXPECTED.

Now, that’s just standard. And yet, the industry and the world is expecting more from us these days. So, let’s take another step up. When you serve someone the way they like it, the way they hope for, the way they prefer, the way they desire. Ah. The word is called ‘DESIRED’. And you say it like this, please. Roll your shoulders back. Everybody, here we go. Here we go. What’s the matter? Your shoulder’s broken? Come on, come on. Morning exercise. Shoulders. Shoulder. Good, good. Now, add the sound like this. ‘DESIRED’. Here we go. One, two, three. Turn to your partner and tell them how well he did that.

Now, we got three levels of service. BASIC, EXPECTED, DESIRED. What’s above that? When you do something for someone, it’s unexpected. And they like it. So, it’s like getting a little gift and they say, “Aah. What a nice… surprise.” Take your hands and go like this. SURPRISING. Ready? One, two, three. SURPRISING. Very good.

Now, there’s two more. Above surprising is absolutely astonishing. It’s extraordinary. It’s incredible. The word we use here is… UNBELIEVABLE. And you say it like, Yeah, I know you’re ready. But everybody else is saying, “Wait. Before we do that, what’s at the bottom?”

What’s below BASIC? What if you don’t even meet the bare legitimate minimum? It’s terrible. It’s awful. It’s horrible. It’s so bad I call it CRIMINAL. You violate legitimate minimum expectations. You don’t do what you said you were going to do. And the way to say this one is you put your hands together like handcuffs and go… You did that fast. Prior experience? Everybody together. Put your hands together like handcuffs. CRIMINAL. One, two, three. CRIMINAL.



One step up. BASIC. Cross your arms. EXPECTED. Come on. Shoulders, shoulders. Here we go. DESIRED. Hands, hands. SURPRISING. Fast. UNBELIEVABLE. That was a Basic Unbelievable. Come on, SWIFT conference here in Singapore. Let’s give it one big UNBELIEVABLE, UNBELIEVABLE and just for fun, do it right here to the camera. Ready. One, two, three. And how is the service you provide?

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