This is the first post in a series of three articles that focus on building a customer centered culture.
Every leader knows that the customer is at the heart of their business. In fact it’s plain that business only thrives when customers use, re-use, and recommend the products and services of a business. Therefore, it stands to reason that “Customer Service” should be a strategic value for any business that sells products or services.
The concept of customer service is simple to understand because we all are customer that buy products and services in our own lives. We all know the power that we yield with our decisions to buy and shop with the companies that we chose to patronize.
If we all know how important it is as a business to provide appealing customer service, why does it seem so hard to consistently find companies that shine as customer service providers? Why do companies fail to deliver on their claims and mission statements? In my experience the answer lies in the commitment at the top levels of leadership.
What many leaders fail to recognize is that they are just as responsible to provide top notch service internally as the frontline people they put in front of the external customer. It’s a mistake to believe that customer service training alone will produce the kind of results that will out do the competition consistently over time. Training is certainly a key component to a successful service culture, but equally important and in the long run more important is the commitment to define and support a cultural standard that is consistent across the organization.
Leadership from the Owner, CEO, and CFO, the President and every level of management must be in agreement to what standards of service are necessary to achieve your goals in your market. In my experience this is a hard ticket to sell. Most high level leaders feel that the standards they set for the staff don’t apply to them. This is another fundamental mistake. Setting the vision for the culture is only part of long term success. The more important element is the level of commitment to those standards at every level of the business.
It’s only a matter of time until a frontline employee faces a problem that requires a decision that challenges the customer service standards that have been established. When this happens the credibility of the entire company hinges upon the ability of that frontline service provider to meet and whenever possible exceed the customer expectation.
Internal service honesty is often the hidden weak link that can stall superior service improvements. For whatever reason, departmental power struggles exist in every company. The key to unleashing service brilliance is to remove those roadblocks and require complete commitment and involvement from every department.
This is where the real work of culture building is. And it takes a brave leadership stand to re-work the invisible boundaries that have been present for so long. The payoff comes when every department knows the objective and begins to work together to make them happen.
Tune in tomorrow for part two of the series Building a Customer Centered Culture – Recruiting for Service Brilliance
I hope you enjoyed this post. What do you think the key to building a customer service culture is? I’d love to hear from you on this subject. Please get involved and leave a comment in the Reply box.
Does your company need a jump start in Re-writing your service culture? I would love to consult with you. Send me an email to discuss it: email@example.com