This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Marilyn Suttle writes about a topic I often talk about, the importance of speed and customer service. Speed creates customer confidence. – Shep Hyken

You know your company is doing well when new business comes in the door, and old customers keep coming back. During growth spurts, time gets tight. That’s when customer care is most in jeopardy.

It starts with a whisper that creeps into even the most dedicated minds saying things like:

“I don’t have time to follow up on that email. It will have to wait.” Followed later with, “I think I’m forgetting something.”Gently nagging while dozing off to sleep, “Did I ever respond to William about his order request for George?”

That whisper will have you weighing which customers are “worth” your limited time, and which ones can be put off “for just a while.

It can hypnotize you to “reach for the nearest cookie” for comfort when you’re feeling time-starved and overwhelmed. Over time, it rewrites each employee’s definition of “this is the way we do things.”

Customer service can appear to be intangible – hard to measure, and hard to track. It’s not an impossible metric. The issue most people fail to factor in is this – customer service always needs immediate attention, though the bottom-line impacting results are not immediate.

As you look around your business at the height of success, what you’re seeing isn’t your current customer service culture at work. You’re seeing the results of your PAST service efforts.

That whisper that shows up during times of growth, much like a new puppy, needs to be trained so it doesn’t make a mess of things.

What can you do about it?

ACKNOWLEDGE TEMPTATIONS. Pay attention to thoughts that tempt you to skimp on the customer experience and congratulate yourself for noticing it. You can’t make positive adjustments unless you notice what needs adjusting.

HAVE BRAVE CONVERSATIONS. Talk to your team and “out” yourself. Talk about your own struggles with service levels and check in to see if others have had similar issues due to time constraints and growing demands. Your authenticity will make it easier for others to share concerns openly.

FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS. Brainstorm ways to minimize any growing pains your clients experience as you put new systems in place to handle the new work load your company’s success has created.

PRACTICE ACCOUNTABILITY. Hold yourself and your company accountable to maintaining a culture of customer care. Growth is a good problem to have as long as the commitment to uphold service values stays intact.