There have been a lot of talks, forums, articles, books and research evidence that list several short and long term benefits of having a good customer service culture. Establishing a great customer-oriented (also customer-centered/centric) culture goes a long way from satisfying customer requirements and hiring employees with the right skills.
Its benefits are highlighted in strategic positioning as a business, improved communication and management as well as having ever-satisfied customers. The real issue is how to create this kind of work culture. There are many debates and speculations about how to create an effective customer-centered culture. Most of the arguments made are reasonable since the end results are often measurable.
3 Ways To Create A Customer Service Culture
Hire for Attitude and Personality, Then Train
Hiring has for a long time been based on attitude, a technique prevalent in many former books and articles. If you hire for attitude and teach them the right skills, you will have a controllable, predictable, and skilled employee who knows what to do according to the books. To build an effective customer -focused culture however requires employees with the right skills, attitude and personality. Personality is a trait that is inseparable from your customer service experience. Employees may have the right attitude and your training may equip them with the appropriate skills. The question however remains whether they will fit into the culture. For any hope of success and results, it is important that that they quickly adapt to what you are trying to build for your corporation or business. Personality is the trait that isolates a person’s cultural fitness, as per the culture you want practiced in your organization.
Once you have the right people, it is time to train them and build the culture you want. This is the main bridge to building a customer-oriented culture. It will not only require determination, but also a few resources. It is nonetheless simple, ethical and rewarding. An excellent customer-centric culture is one that pays attention to customer requirements and needs. This involves treating each customer with respect, urgency and impartiality. It is this experience companies with excellent customer service are known for. It however starts from within. If you treat all employees with respect and without discrimination based on personal traits (appearance, alignment, religion, opinion) customers will eventually feel it.
Align the Business
Aligning the business is the most basic, yet critical element in achieving efficient customer-oriented cultures. Once you have employees with the right attitude, personality, skills and passion, it is time to bring everyone at par. Ensure each employee understands what the organization stands for. They should be clear how excellent customer service will improve revenue and overall business credibility as well as ability to continue operating. The mission and visions should be clearly understood. As basic as it seems, most corporations have failed at this level. Aligning the business does not specifically entail heavy restrictions, rules, communication channels and job description liberties. The employees should be capacitated to make certain prompt decisions in favor of the customer and in light to the overall company benefit. The freedom to think and make decisions based on wholesome information, enlightenment and understanding of what the company stands for will definitely result in elevated productivity.
It is, however, very important to note that excellent customer-centric culture will never be created without a framework. The sales and customer service team must be organized, and with layout of how decisions can be made. Their will to act should not only be impulse by the need to offer excellent customer service while in oversight of the organizational implications this results in. A good framework does not only ensure employees are free to think and act independently, but also guarantees they do this with factual light of positive rewards to the organization. The improved customer service value should exhibit crystal potential that the organization will benefit. Any incurred cost should also be within the allowed boundaries and in no way capable of badly implicating the company. This goes back to training and treatment. Employees have to be treated as managers to ensure they understand company focus, direction and intention.
Listen to Customer Feedback
Of course customer feedback, one of the terms most businesses are well conversant with, is required in building excellent customer service ethics, values and objectives. To be able to serve your customers and satisfy their targeted, group and individual requirements, you have to listen to them. Customer feedback has always been a tough metric to get a hold of. There are many scientifically supported techniques of gathering accurate customer feedback. However, most companies have focused on how customers felt about the service. It is important to listen to your customers’ wants and their suggestions on how the service can be improved. This means customer interactions are followed by channels for communication, asking question, making a recommendation or complaint. When you listen to your customers, you do not only gather data on their requirements but also have a clear visualization of their anticipation.
Your customers already anticipate a given treatment which may be level or high standard. These anticipations however vary across different groups of customers. When you listen and capture their anticipation, you can then calculate what it would cost to slightly overwhelm. If it is well within your strategic miscellaneous expenses, and when all other factors (including risk costs, rapid response…) are at play, you can try it. When you overwhelm customer anticipation, you officially draw out the “Wow!” factor. The results have been positively linked with customer loyalty. All employees, especially those in direct contact (face-to-face, cell, mail etc) with the customers, must be clear on what the customer requirements are and what they expect. This will easily help them enhance the experience to have a “much better satisfied customer.” Of course all enhancements will be in no compromise of the organization’s books and focus.
Excellent customer-centric culture is the key to strategic positioning and it can only be achieved by creating an environment. One where everybody is happy with what they are doing, and are at liberty of enhancing a service to the benefit of a customer, while in line with company’s framework and principle focuses. The above mentioned concepts make three of the most effective in creating a sustainable, rewarding and long-lasting customer service culture.