As organizations become more customer-centric, a culture that fosters the best experience for both parties is key to success. But what does it take? Experts have been scratching their heads ever since this aspect of marketing gained precedence over all other aspects in terms of importance and priority–how can you cultivate an environment where employees are inspired by your company’s values so they can provide stellar service day after day without fail?
As part of my job as Director of Client Support at Q4 and similar roles within other organizations, I’ve had the opportunity to directly influence this within my services and support team and I’ve learned some secrets along the way which I think you might find valuable.
So what’s the magic formula? Let me start off by saying it’s not some hyper-complicated system. You don’t need to be a marketing specialist or an expensive consultant to achieve this. It doesn’t require a restructuring of your company or the hiring of massive teams of people.
It can get you tremendously far if you just do one thing–and it starts with getting closer to the client within your immediate circle of influence, whether that be colleagues, agents under your supervision, or support desk staff whose responsibility is directly related to the client satisfaction.
As I’ve said before, it’s not always about the new customer. If your goal is to build a sustainable business, your primary focus needs to be on nurturing existing relationships and making sure you treat every client like THEIR satisfaction is the most important thing in the world (because it really IS).
Being closer to clients won’t offer any considerable new business that isn’t already on your current radar–because they’re usually yours for a reason! Being effective at developing new business opportunities comes with time, but there are things you can do today that will ensure better loyalty and retention rates for tomorrow.
Your clients are your babies…because, without them, you don’t have a business. That means taking care of them should be at the top of your priority list every single day. Here are a few things you can do NOW if you want to offer better customer service:
Define Your Mission
You need to know about the destination so that you can plan for the journey. You can refer to your established CX mission as the cultural bible because it is super important. This mission statement will be your light in the tunnel- guiding you and helping you devise the right actions and behaviors to reach your goal.
Without this defined goal, you will certainly be lost.
Communication is the Key
There is no such thing as over-communication when it comes to manifesting the desired customer-centric culture. If the communication channel is blocked somewhere the messages, or data is not being delivered across all the floor, to the respective departments, you can expect to be in a real conundrum.
There is no wrong or correct way to communicate- just make sure you are articulate, you are consistent, and are engaging constantly without being annoying. It is imperative to maintain a degree of fun so that it does not become a boring work chore that employees often ignore.
Educate and Preach Your Staff
Who is going to implement the culture? Your people, your staff.
No matter how professionally you design your management style to advocate for customer-centricity, you still would not be able to foster a whole culture without properly educating and training your staff. When it comes to cultivating a whole new culture, you need to make sure that everybody in the organization understands the purpose of the change and supports it.
A great CX professional must be able to inspire and educate all working levels to focus greatly on the customer.
Hire a Good Cultural Fit
The recruitment process is also a determinant of how fast your organization will adapt to the new culture and champion it for the coming years. Effective recruitment strategies will help you attract people who understand the norms and cultural standards established in your workplace. They will support your organization’s vision and filter those people out who may be technically qualified by their purpose does not align with the spirit of your organization.
Reframe your job description and emphasize more on people skills; do not give the impression that you prioritize task-oriented behavior over the attitude and expectations of your employees. Advertise your culture and reflect it in your interaction with the applicants.
Keep Customers in the Loop
Since your whole effort is directed towards improving customer relations and understanding customers’ perceptions, you must involve customers as much as you can.
Set up customer focus groups, keep them updated on the changes you are about to introduce in your organization. This will help you understand how they perceive risk and reward.
For example, if you are introducing a new and unique product and the customers feel there is some component of risk involved in buying your product, let them know that they can return the product anytime if it fails to meet their expectations.
This will improve customer relations as well as enhance employee satisfaction as employees believe that management has considered their concerns before introducing any changes.
Increase Employee Satisfaction
A happy employee who is satisfied with his or her job also helps in building better relationships with the customers because the customer’s problem becomes an employee’s problem too. This kind of understanding between employees and management increases motivation among workers which enables them to contribute further towards improving productivity levels.
As far as possible, reduce conflicts between departments instead of allowing them to escalate into conflicts between managers.
Employee satisfaction is not about paying more or less but providing employees the opportunity to perform their duties without any interference. When employees are satisfied with their job, they are able to complete it efficiently which helps in making good profits for the company.
No matter how you are rewarding your employees – and whether the rewards are intrinsic or tangible – you must ensure that you are recognizing the efforts and achievements of your employees. Intrinsic awards have a more lasting impact on employees as it particularly acknowledges a group’s way of working. Tolerating risk and imposing penalties can also help keep culture aligned with practices.
Offering incentives, prizes, deserved promotions, acknowledgments, and praises converge towards employee motivation and hence contribute to greater service results.
Keeping all these things in mind shall help you build a happy and satisfied workforce that will lead your company towards growth.
Leaders Must Lead
The power of leadership is so significant that it can shift the entire course of the functionality of an organization. Altering a culture that is deep-rooted in a workspace can be a hell of an exhausting challenge. So, only people who are capable and have a strong heart must be up for it.
Visible and active involvement by executives and senior leaders is integral in the strategic building of a customer-centric culture. Everyone is responsible for fostering a new culture but ensuring that the roles are conducted with more vigor and clarity is solely the job of the leaders.
From prioritizing resources to incorporating customer experience metrics into decisional reforms, is all part of the job description.
Wrapping it Up
Businesses are offering a merely different version of the same product to their audiences. Winning at customer services is the competitive edge that can separate them from the noise. A prevalent customer-centric culture in an organization is the rock and stones that form a robust foundation of a compelling customer experience.
If you cultivate the right values and inculcate the correct sense of customer-centricity in your organization, you will reap your rewards in the form of consistent profitability, increased sales, and higher customer retention.
Customers these days have an insane amount of power and a comprehensive set of choices; you have to devise appropriate strategies to trigger a continual impact. CX programs fail all the time, but an improved disciplined approach to serving your customers can help you build a strong customer relationship.
So, change behaviors to change the culture!