Our number one priority is company culture. Our whole belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff like delivering great customer service or building a long-term enduring brand will just happen naturally on its own.

– Internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist Tony Hsieh

Most companies list customer service as their main competitive advantage and make it a goal to improve for each coming year. However, not all succeed. Why?

The priorities and focus of a company extend down to the customer support and sales teams within that organization and are reflected in the behaviour at those levels. For example: If the company only cares about the bottom line, this will show in the customer experience.

The reason an organization delivers good or bad customer service comes down to one thing; what is happening on the inside of that organization.  To sum it up in two words: Company Culture.

As the old management adage goes: “You can’t have deeply engaged customers without deeply engaged employees.”

Company culture has a huge impact on customer service. Great customer service is more than just hiring the right people, it is about hiring people with great attitudes, offering the best customer service training, and creating an environment that they will thrive in. In order for a company to put it’s 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.

Company leaders must treat their employees how they want their customers to be treated – setting an example at the top so that the only attitude trickling down is a positive one. As the old management adage goes: “You can’t have deeply engaged customers without deeply engaged employees.”

When we think of customer-focused culture a few companies come to mind, including Alberta-based WestJet, Google and Apple (and, of course, Zappos, the online shoe and apparel company Hsieh sold to Amazon in 2009).

If your company is amazing to work for, if people love coming to work, and if there is a contagious enthusiasm about how they are treated, then the customer is going to feel it. Isn’t that what a customer service-focused culture is about?

How can companies accomplish great company culture that results in a customer-focused culture? Part 2 to this blog (watch for it Feb. 18!) will expand upon these 5 key ideas. 

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