Training your employees in the proper way to treat customers is an important part of being able to deliver consistently outstanding customer service. But that is only part of the equation. In order for your level of service to set you apart from your competition, you must build a strong customer service culture in your organization. One that goes so deep that everything in your processes and people is focused on serving the customer.
You can quickly tell you are dealing with a company that has a culture of service when an employee immediately stops what they are doing, like stocking the shelves, and turns his attention to helping you. They don’t look at you as if you are an interruption in their day; they remember that you are the reason they are stocking the shelves.
If your organization truly has that culture of service, every action is pointed toward the customer. Everybody in the organization must understand that it is everyone’s job to take care of the customer, not just the manager or the customer service department. One of my favorite sayings:
“ speaks to this primary objective of serving the customer. It must be the driving force of the business and each employee must be constantly aware that “The customer is our paycheck–no customers, no paycheck.”
Management must lead the way and model the service vision. If you do the opposite of what you say about customer service, no one will listen to you. It’s sort of like signaling right and turning left. Employees will take their cue on how to treat the customer from their managers.
When you model the behavior you want towards customers it sends a much stronger message than anything else you can say. How do you spend your time, for instance? Locked up in your office wrestling with numbers? Or do you spend at least part of your time doing things like visiting the front line to ask employees’ advice about how to better serve the customer, or actually serving the customer? When your employees see you talking to and otherwise caring for customers, that is the behavior they will imitate.
The owner of a coffee shop works right alongside his employees during particularly busy times in the morning and afternoon. This not only gives him greater insight into his customers but also sends a strong message that customers are his most important priority.
Aside from modeling the behavior, what else needs to be in place in order to create a culture of service? How do you go about creating such a culture of service in your organization that even if you aren’t there looking over everyone’s shoulder, excellent customer service happens?
Create a target of what excellent customer service looks like. Without a shared vision of what you mean by outstanding customer service, it can’t happen. When you share your vision of what customer service should be, or have your employees help develop it, your employees will be able to act on their own, because they will know the level of commitment to customers that you support.
A customer service target statement of a small retail store states: “We want our customers to view us as providing more than just acceptable service. Our goal is to provide legendary service in every shopping experience.”
So how are you doing in establishing a culture of service?
I share powerful Customer Service tips and insights for front line managers and employees on how to deliver customer service to keep your customer coming back. The name of the game is customer loyalty and it’s not just about satisfaction. It’s about a willingness to be a repeat buyer, willingness to recommend you to others, and resistance to switching to a competitor. Fortunately, I learned this lesson through my 15-year corporate career. Poor service is an all-too-frequent experience for us all. I provide a framework for implementing ongoing processes that can build customer loyalty.
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