Experience the Competitive Advantages of Strategic Company Culture
Most companies list customer service as their main competitive advantage and set goals to improve for each coming year. However, not all succeed. Why? Hint: It all comes down to company culture, and today you will learn why.
The priorities and focus of a company extend down to the customer support and sales teams within that organization. Ultimately, the behaviour at those levels reflects these teams. For example, if the company only cares about the bottom line, this will present itself 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.
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. 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.
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.
A customer-focused company culture is one necessity for a modern, successful company. Take a look at this post next to learn why diversity, equity, and inclusion are another.
Customer-Focused Company Culture
When we think of customer-focused company culture a few companies come to mind, including Google and Apple.
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. After all, 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?
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, because they will want to see it succeed.
That is what’s called creating company culture – and it matters. The following are five tips for getting this right.
1. Establish the culture early on to ensure it sticks.
When interviewing a person, interview for compatibility with the question in mind: “Does this person share our company values?” Asking value-based questions can be a good indicator of whether someone might fit the company culture. This is how you protect the culture and ensure the right people are hired. There is an old adage that says, “Hire for attitude and train the skill.” Even with the right attitude, will the new employee fit into 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.
2. Train for the culture.
If the employee has the right attitude and a personality that meshes with your culture, get them 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. 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.
3. Teaching a life-work balance only serves to kill creativity.
When asked about keeping work and personal life separate, the late Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappos) said, “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.” Post-pandemic employees are more aware than ever what life-work balance means to them, so ensure there is flexibility.
4. 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. Share the best ideas and allow for creativity; there is no better way to engage an employee group.
5. Create a learning environment.
Last but not least, this is one of the most important initiatives a company can offer. Statistically, a large percentage of employees stay with a company because they feel they are learning, and the learning is facilitating their work performance improvement. Offering appropriate training courses, creating a well-promoted succession plan, and identifying emerging leaders early on will give a company an excellent reputation, and this learning culture will have a very positive impact.
When employees feel empowered, there is much more that leadership can learn from bottom-up feedback. Celebrate it all. Encourage people to learn from their successes and their failures. Share these lessons with everyone.
If a company is amazing to work for and authentically cares about and invests in its people, the customer is going to feel it in the service provided, and the business will ultimately be the winner. That’s what a customer service-focused culture is about.