Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yes Please! I Want a Customer Centric Culture

I wish it were that easy.  You just decide that your organization is going to be customer focused and BAM, there it is.  If it were that simple every company would have a Nordstrom, Disney, Zappo's or Ritz Carlton type culture.

But it's just not that easy.

It is a deliberate, dare I say...process.

Every little concept and strategy must be aligned and if one thing is out of alignment, then well you know the drill.  Your culture winds up like Delta or Circuit City where the customer is confused about what is really important to the company.

Here are some of the important tenets when moving from a culture of _____________ to one that is truly focused on the customer.

1) The leadership team has to absolutely believe the customer is #1.
2) Customer service standards and behaviors have to be clear and aligned to customer strategy.
3) Middle managers have to drive the change with assistance from HR
4) HR has to align its programs and practices to align with the new customer service culture (rewards and recognition, performance management, etc.)
5) Training and communications need to take place so skills are developed AND employees understand why the company is focusing on the customer.
6) Success must be celebrated and results shared
7) Happy employees equal happy customers so treat employees accordingly

For those of you that have a customer centric focus and culture, how have you done it?  What has your journey been like?

I would love to hear from a variety of industries as I believe building this culture for a "for-profit" business is very different from building one in a government environment.


Al Smith said...

Great post Cathy. I think #7 should be #1. Treat your customers like they are your #1 customer. Because they are. CARE for employees and they will take CARE of your customers. With a smile.


Unknown said...

Hi Al:

I believe that as well. I probably should have said, those items were in no particular order...hard to say which ones are the most important!

Thanks for reading!

Darci R said...

Amen, sister! Herein lies the problem, as evidenced by your first response: which comes first the customer or the employee?. I think this is where companies get confused. Companies try to build employee-focused cultures thinking happy employees = happy customers, but unless you connect the employee experience to the customer experience, you end up with dissatisfied customers which leads to a reduction in business which leads to reductions in workforce which leads to unhappy, insecure, disgruntled employees. I encourage companies to build customer-focused cultures by engaging employees in the service process - make their purpose - the reason they come to work everyday - the customer, and everybody wins.

David Young @ biometric time clock said...

I'm not sure I could choose which was more important! Though I do have to agree: happy employees make for happy customers.