How Customer-Centric is Your Company?
Strong company values make successful companies stand out among the rest. Innovation, simplicity, creativity, and a dedication to customer service might already be on your list; but that doesn’t necessarily make your business truly customer-centric.
Is your customer always right? In a sense, yes.
The customer’s perception of your company when they interact with your team is their reality. The sum of all customer perceptions as expressed in patronage, reviews, ratings, referrals, engagement, advocacy, and so on then represents universal reality.
If the customer has a positive interaction, they will think positively of the entire company. The more positive they feel, the more likely they are to recommend and continue to patronize your business. The customers who feel the most positively about their interactions with your company are those most likely to become brand ambassadors (or brand advocates). Developing brand ambassadors is crucial to your company’s growth, and it’s not only the role of the customer service department. The more customers who become brand advocates, the easier it is to attract new customers and grow, and the cost of customer acquisition goes down.
Let’s take a look at ten quotes that exemplify the power of being a customer-centric company.
“Loyal customers insist that their friends do business with you.” – Chip Bell
“The customer’s perception is your reality.” – Kate Zabriskie
“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” – Roger Staubach
“Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job.” – Anonymous
“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. – Damon Richards
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates
“A business is simply an idea to make other people’s lives better.” – Richard Branson
“Make the customer the hero of your story.” – Ann Handley
“The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.” – Sam Walton
“It’s easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back.” – Seth Godin
Customer service is often times mistaken for merely a group of people who answer phones and help customers with their questions. What companies tend to lack is a customer service culture where every employee sees themselves as a brand ambassador, whether their interactions with customers or prospects occur inside or outside of the workplace. If your customer service rating is lower than you want for your company, check out these three ways to re-align your team to be customer-centric so that you can develop a customer service-oriented culture.
3 Ways to Realign Your Team to Make It More Customer-Centric
If a customer can’t reach you or someone at your office when they have questions, you could lose them forever. Define success in responsiveness according to the customer’s expectation, not your process. If prospects expect you to respond with quotes immediately or within 24 hours, your process needs to be aligned to their expectations, not the other way around. This becomes even more crucial if your competitors have a faster response time than you. If your customers have questions regarding products/services, respond as quickly as possible, even if you need more time to get the answer.
Promote Open Communication Among Employees
Employee frustration can arise when they don’t know and can’t get access to answers or the information they need. Foster an environment where all the departments are encouraged to communicate with each other. Open up processes so that the customer can get the information they need with as few transfers as possible; ideally, making it possible for whomever they first contact to quickly get to the information they need. Use internal training time to role play potential customer-inquiry scenarios and quiz staff on “who to contact” for different types of information. Customers want answers quickly; empowering staff to get to the information needed can help.
Give Customers the Means to Provide Feedback
The unfiltered words and feelings of your consumers are great learning tools. If you’re not already surveying customers after transactions this could be a great time to start. The feedback could be about something an employee did that was above and beyond the customer’s expectation. In this case, find time to recognize that employee for a job well done, which in turn encourages all employees to repeat this behavior. If a customer had a negative experience, read their feedback and relay it to your team. If it’s a process issue, take time to re-train your team on the details of how to perform a certain process. If it’s an attitude issue, pull the specific representative aside and let them tell you about the transaction, and offer constructive feedback when needed. When customer feedback goes unnoticed, your company has no chance to improve from the past, and could suffer in making the same mistakes over and over.
At the end of the day, the purpose of every business is to make people’s lives better in some way. The more customer-centric your processes and company culture, the easier it becomes to produce happy customers, referrals, and growth.