Customer service and organizational culture are two commonly discussed topics in business. People tend to see them as two separate concepts, but is there a point where they meet?
Customer experience is a significant differentiator in today’s economy. The same applies to organizational culture, which can influence employee productivity. Combine these two, and you get an organizational culture that centers on customer satisfaction.
Companies with top-notch customer service outperform others by as much as 80%. As such, a customer-centric culture presents many benefits to an organization. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to see these benefits or the point of a customer-centric culture.
Indeed, many organizations use catchphrases to emphasize that “customer satisfaction is our number one priority” in their influencer marketing campaigns. But they don’t practice it.
In reality, their priority is most probably their profitability. Enduring profitability, though, relies on customer satisfaction. Therefore, you need to pay attention to this, understand it, and make it part of your company culture.
Customer-centricity means putting the customers first in all your business operations. It involves positioning your customers at the heart of your business. You make the customers your number one priority, and everything else (including profitability) follows.
In recent times, there has been a power shift between brands and customers. Customers are more selective about the brands they patronize. Conversion metrics show that brands with good customer service win more customers.
Customer service involves providing a delightful experience for your customers. In other words, your customers should be happy and have satisfaction doing business with you.
Creating a customer-centric culture involves directing efforts, resources, and policies toward keeping customers happy. The good part is that it’s the best way to improve your customer retention.
However, creating a customer-centric culture goes beyond attending to customer inquiries or resolving complaints. It involves imbibing a philosophy, cultivating a mindset, and developing an identity. Culture indicates a way of life. Therefore your organization’s way of life must reflect a dedication to customer service.
Having considered all the points above, let’s now answer the question — how do you create a customer-centric company culture?
You should give your customers no reason or excuse to complain about your services or products. But it shouldn’t end there.
Make customer service a way of life and build an identity around it. The following are some best practices to follow when implementing a customer-centric organizational culture.
The most basic form of customer service is providing a high-quality service or products for money. Providing top-quality products/services is the easiest way to satisfy customers. In most cases, customers complain because they’re not happy with the quality of the products they receive. You can avoid a tepid relationship and earn the loyalty of your customers by providing top-quality products/services from the get-go.
While most companies have good reports on service quality, there are still scenarios of companies cutting corners to reduce costs. Cutting corners may save costs, but it also often affects the overall quality of the product. Providing inferior quality products or services is a bad culture that shows a lack of care for the customer. Make quality service a company policy and ensure strict adherence to it.
Increase efforts on empathy; be intentional about supporting customers and develop these habits into a culture. Empathy involves showing concern for people, in this case, your customers.
Empathy brings you into a position of understanding. You can relate to your customers’ emotions and respond appropriately. So to some extent, empathy is an essential aspect of genuine customer service.
There are many ways to show empathy, but it all becomes easier when you adopt an organizational culture that promotes kindness. Create a culture that fosters support among the employees and customers. For example, you can use a phone number forwarding service that routes directly to employees and makes it easy to solve customer queries. By allowing customers to avoid queues, you’re showing them that you value their time.
Part of empathy includes being ready to compromise company policy for the sake of customer satisfaction. Always be willing to adjust to the customers’ ever-changing needs.
You can create an efficient customer-centric culture off the back of customer feedback. More often than not, you need adequate knowledge about the customers’ preferences to develop an effective customer-centric culture.
63% of customers expect businesses to know their unique needs. So you need to know your customers’ wants and needs, then come up with plans to satisfy them.
For example, what are your customers saying about the software update for your video call app? You can use this feedback to gauge customers’ opinions and make improvements based on these.
Sometimes, merely receiving and acting on customer feedback presents you in a good light with customers. The thing is, very few people make an effort to go through customer feedback and try to make adjustments. Many times, the adjustments may need you or your employees to pivot or modify operational strategy. But doing it shows you care about your customer’s satisfaction.
Always remember you’re dealing with humans in every customer-facing aspect of your business. Your customers will undoubtedly appreciate your brand treating them as people rather than leads or conversions.
Your customers would like to have a cordial relationship with you. You should learn how to record phone calls and use great calls as templates for reps to improve future customer interactions. Likewise, you can analyze challenging interactions with customers to coach call center agents.
Sales are essential for the continuity of your business, but so are your customers. If you have poor customer retention, your business won’t last long. Prioritize sales but not at the expense of a good relationship with your customers. You can start by using effective email marketing tools to build regular correspondence with your customers.
Via emails, you can check on your customers, send holiday greetings, offer discounts, and maintain top-of-mind awareness. Use a newsletter builder to send important info, and promotional offers and communicate consistently with your customers.
You can’t create a solid organizational culture with clueless employees. Your employees make up your organization and will be the ones interacting directly with customers. As such, it’s only reasonable that they possess adequate skills to provide excellent customer service. When the skills are solid and are put into use consistently, it automatically translates to a culture.
Encourage your employees build their customer service skills by doing the following:
When hiring, employ individuals that show an interest in customer service. Pick individuals who are willing to do what’s right for the customers every time. Such individuals will fit right into a customer-centric setup. You’ll be able to implement a customer-centric culture with like-minded employees.
Business isn’t just about profit. It’s not just about sales strategies to increase your revenue.
Business is also an opportunity to make connections, serve your customers well, and solve their problems. Build a culture that cares about the other guy and not just yourself. Develop an organizational culture that cares about the customers, and you will certainly be rewarded!
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud phone system for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.