In order for a company to put its best foot forward, it must set an example of customer service behaviour from the top. Implementing a positive and fun company culture will instill loyalty, drive, and ambition in all employees and ensure that they work hard for the company that they ‘love’ to work for – they will want to see it succeed.
This is what’s calling creating Company Culture – and it matters. (Read more about this in Part 1 of this blog series, published on Feb. 4.)
How can companies accomplish great company culture that results in a customer-focused culture? Here are some ideas to consider:
Establish the culture early on to ensure it sticks.
When interviewing a person, interview for compatibility with the question in mind: “Would I want to hang out with this person outside of work?” Not wanting to get a drink with someone outside of the office is a good indicator that they probably wouldn’t fit the company culture. This is how you protect the culture and ensure the right people were hired.
Hire for the culture.
It’s an old adage that says, ‘Hire for the attitude and train the skill’. This is a little different. Even with the right attitude, will the new employee fit in to the culture you are trying to build or sustain? Look beyond their attitude and focus on their personality. Make sure there is a cultural fit.
Train for the culture.
If the employee has the right attitude and a personality that meshes with your culture, get him/her up to speed and entrenched in your culture as quickly as possible. They must understand what the company stands for, its goals, mission and vision; everyone must be on the same page. Understanding the company’s goals, mission, and vision on paper is one thing, but employees must be able to live the essence of these statements. Love the concept of the ‘mantra,’ which is a sentence version of the goals, vision and mission that succinctly sums up what the company’s culture is about.
Teaching a life-work balance only serves to kill creativity.
Asked about keeping work and personal life separate, Internet clothing entrepreneur Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappos) says: “There are companies that focus on work-life separation or work-life balance and at Zappos we really focus on work-life integration and at the end of the day it’s just life … if you spend so much time at work, you better enjoy the time that you’re spending there and people that you’re with …”
In his talk at Stanford, he states: “We want the person to be the same person at home or in the office because what we’ve found is that’s when the great ideas come out, that’s when their creativity shines and that’s when true friendships are formed – not just co-worker relationships. When people are in that environment, that’s when the passion comes out and that’s really what’s driven a lot of our growth over the years.”
Allow people to experiment.
This is another way of saying people are empowered to try and do new things and is especially true in the world of customer service. The outcome should be favourable for the customer, not hurt the company (financially, legally, etc.) and enhance the relationship with the customer.
Create a learning environment.
If you really let people experiment, and they are truly empowered, there will be much to learn from the successes and failures of your employees. Celebrate it all. Encourage people to learn from their successes and their failures. Share these lessons with everyone.
If your company is amazing to work for and authentically cares about and invests in people, then the customer is going to feel it and your business will ultimately be the winner. That’s what a customer service-focused culture is about.