Create a Customer-Focused Culture
All businesses today spend time discussing office culture. What type of workplace do we want to create for our teams?
Through our involvement with Accelerent, a new business development organization we belong to, we attend quarterly breakfast events with a variety of different speakers. We’ve written about them in the past.
This quarter’s breakfast featured Lisa Ford. Lisa has more than 20 years of experience presenting to businesses, associations and government on the topics of customer service, leadership, team issues and change.
In her opinion, there are really only three types of customer service: Rude, Indifferent and Hospitable. We spend too much time processing the transaction than developing a sense of loyalty with our customers. We need to create an experience for our customer that enhances the relationship with our brand and/or business, shows our customers that we know them and care about them and that we are adding something of value to their business.
But she readily admits that the idea of customer service is easy to talk about and very difficult to do. And it has to start at the top. “Poor customer service is a direct reflection of a leader’s action,” says Lisa. Creating a customer-focus culture is an everyday, all day, every time necessity. So what can we do to ensure that happens?
Lisa’s advice is to hire service-minded individuals from the start. Yes, your team members must possess certain skills to do the job you are hiring them for. But the value-add for your business is when you bring someone on that has customer service top-of-mind. And that the leaders must lead by example. We can’t expect our team to do more than we are willing to do.
Leaders should consider the following questions when maintaining the customer-focus culture:
- Where are you difficult to do business with?
- Can your potential customers find you easily on the internet? Are you monitoring your “info@” email and responding promptly? Are you answering your phone and/or returning messages quickly? Do your processes make it complicated for your customer?
- What is your point of differentiation?
- Really, there is no such thing as “unique,” “one-of-a-kind,” “state-of-the-art” and any other number of adjectives we use to say we’re different. Spend some time and really determine what sets you a part.
- What is your weakest link?
- This might tie in to what makes you difficult to do business with or it might be more aligned with your people or your location. What can you do to rectify that situation?
And a final word of caution.
“If you can’t please your current customers you don’t deserve new customers. So make sure you out-think, out-serve and out-execute on every engagement.”
Update: The HMA Public Relations team is still attending all of the amazing Accelerent breakfasts. Be sure to continue following our blog in order to read some of the incredible advice offered at the most recent breakfasts.