by Granville Triumph
Today’s empowered customers know more and expect more than ever. They’re also capable of sharing their experiences, good and bad, as a way of rewarding or rebuking an organization. Most importantly, it’s easier than ever for someone to find an alternative if your organization fails to deliver anything but an exceptional customer experience.
Customer service has reached a level of importance that goes beyond training videos and manuals. Successful organizations create a culture focused on satisfying the wants and needs of the customer and driven by a genuine desire to do the right thing.
Aside from keeping customers happy, customer service has very real business benefits. Positive customer service experiences build trust, loyalty and engagement, often transforming customers into brand ambassadors.
This culture of customer service must start at the top of the organizational chart. The chief executive must lead by example and set the tone for how employees are expected to behave. Every word and action from the top says, “This is how we do things.” Consequently, this approach is embraced by all employees – not just those on the front lines who deal directly with customers.
Here are five ways to build a customer service culture:
1) Look beyond the resumé. A customer service culture requires more than the right skills and experience. It requires an attitude, personality and self-motivation that fit a culture built upon the premise of making the customer happy.
2) Establish policies focused on customer satisfaction. Instead of setting rigid rules that could prevent the resolution of a customer’s problem, create policies and procedures that empower employees to find solutions. Customer service should be part of every employee’s job description, so make sure each employee understands the specific role they play and why their role is so important.
3) Make the level of customer service price-agnostic. A relatively small purchase does not excuse you from delivering the highest level of customer service. In fact, many people will pay more for better customer service and reward those organizations with their loyalty.
4) Recognize and reward customer service success. Don’t just send an email that pats someone on the back. Develop a newsletter that tells the story and offers tips for dealing with unusual circumstances. By drawing attention to exceptional efforts, you show how much you truly value customer service, and you give others the opportunity to learn from someone else’s success.
5) Measure progress and evaluate results. Internal and external surveys and assessments provide data that can improve your performance. How satisfied are your customers? What mistakes could have been avoided? What policies can be improved? What assumptions have you made about customer needs and expectations that are incorrect? In a customer service culture, the desire to do better is never-ending.