Every single business relies on its customers.
They rely on them for strong loyalty, spreading brand awareness, and perhaps the most obvious reason of them all, to purchase their goods and services.
Customers are arguably the most valued part of every business, and it’s simple to see that value when their primary impact is monetary.
It’s easy to be blindsided by the dollar signs and forget the little things that create success. If an abundance of customers is the most valuable variable to a thriving business, then an emphasis on customer service should be the most important aspect of every company culture.
The fact of the matter is that valuing customers goes so much further than good customer service. This is because good customer service is nothing to write home about. To stand out from your competition and grow your existing customer base, you’ll need to create an impressive customer service culture.
What is a customer service culture?
It’s important to understand that a customer service culture is a philosophy, therefore there isn’t a set way to do it and it needs to be unique to every single business.
Although the approach can take many forms, fostering an environment where employees are obsessed with customer service has to be the foundation for it all. But how do you foster an environment that makes employees want to obsess over the customer? It won’t come naturally, that’s for sure!
Think about the elements that make up the basics of company culture. You might think about the way employees engage and communicate with one another or their attitude towards their work. You might also think about the respect they have for their coworkers and leaders. Those are the actions that make up a culture, but what makes a great company culture is when those actions are done positively and with care.
Now use the outline above and insert the word “customers”. A customer service culture is when employees communicate positively with the customer, have respect and a stellar attitude towards the customer, and go above and beyond to provide excellent service to the customer. This exists when a business inspires its employees to take a customer-centric approach, always.
Why your company culture matters to customer service
Company culture and customer service go hand in hand. If employees aren’t happy at work, then they won’t exude happiness or care to their customers. A customer service culture can’t be successful if the foundation of the company isn’t strong and thriving.
Now you might be thinking, that can’t possibly be true! You’ve hired people to provide good customer service for your company, it’s their job. They are paid to do it right no matter their personal feelings towards your company.
Not so fast.
If you don’t care about your employees’ happiness, your employees won’t truly care about the customers’ satisfaction with your business. Why should they care if you don’t? And if they don’t care, your customers will more often times than not have poor experiences with your business, which will keep them from coming back again.
Building a strong company culture takes an immense amount of time and patience. It doesn’t happen overnight. Fostering a workplace environment that encourages employees to perform their very best day in and day out is the ultimate goal. When your employees are enthusiastic about their company’s vision and end goal, they will do everything in their power to ensure that success happens. Those are the kind of employees that care to go above and beyond in their work to ensure the customers are satisfied and have great experiences with your business, always.
Remember, a positive attitude can’t come from one person. The group has to collectively believe it and work together to achieve it. Creating this culture will ensure that good customer service comes naturally to your employees, but going the extra mile for your customers happens often because your employees want to.
How to make customer service a primary tenant of your company culture
Now that you understand how important customer service is to your culture, it’s time to learn the actionable steps to take to begin implementing a customer service culture into your company. These tips are meant to guide you. Remember, not one size fits all so personalize this advice to your company’s unique needs.
Tip 1: Hire the right people
First and foremost, you have to hire the right people to ensure a positive service culture. Most people are set in their ways, and it can be impossible to change a person into doing something they have historically never done or cared about. Make sure you’re hiring people who care. Compassion, friendliness, eager to fix, and hard-working are all excellent qualities of an employee who will be a positive addition to your company.
Tip 2: Be empowering
As a leader, it can sometimes be difficult to know when to delegate. It’s impossible to have your hands in everything, especially as your company grows. Trust that you’ve hired smart, capable people who can get the job done and do it well. Give them the tools that they need to succeed such as an ERP system to better work together.
Trusting your employees to make educated decisions and own projects are some is one of the best ways to ensure a positive culture. No one likes to be micromanaged, so make sure you’re empowering your employees to lead and make the decisions that they think are right.
Tip 3: Celebrate often
Pay attention to the success that’s taking place on the team. Recognize who is going above and beyond and take notice of them. These are the people who deserve to be celebrated. By celebrating the hardest working employees who consistently do a great job, they will feel valued, recognized, and excited to work harder.
Most people won’t share when they’ve done something amazing or have succeeded in something huge, so implement a forum for employees to recognize their colleagues for a job well done. This will ensure that every success is celebrated.
Tip 4: Share Feedback
Just as you should recognize success, you should also recognize areas of improvement and opportunity. Transparency is huge, and it has to go in every direction for it to work. This means there should be transparency within the company, as well as transparency with your customers. Allow feedback from customers and employees to help you get stronger, and consider using a tool, like an employee intranet, to help set clear expectations of the company, keep a pulse on customer satisfaction, as well as customer service best practices.
Tip 5: Train and then train again
It’s not enough to just share the pillars of your company culture during onboarding and teach the best ways to serve customers during the first month of training. Customer service is something that has to be taught, refined, and then taught again. There are always areas for improvement, so make sure your employees know that and are always ready to be trained even better than they were the day before.
Happy employees equal happier customers
What’s going on behind your closed business doors matters. If your team doesn’t care to work together for the common goal of the company, then your business will never be successful. No, a customer service job isn’t for everyone, but it is up to everyone on the team to provide the best possible service to your customers every single time.
Getting the higher-ups on board to lead by example will help the culture immensely. Once the company sees that everyone is in it together, the attitude will shift and your customers will thank you for it.
Which companies have you noticed recently that have an inspiring customer service culture? Why does it stand out to you most?