Transforming the Customer Service Culture in your organisation is the surest way to increase revenues & profitability
Have you ever walked into a retail store and stood around looking for something but no one approached you and asked if you could be helped? Or you have experienced being put on hold for an eternity when you call the customer helpline of a business? Unfortunately, this occurs when organizations do not realise the value of customer service and do nothing to improve their relationships with customers. While a few companies genuinely prioritise customer satisfaction, many treat customers as mere one-time transactions and pay lip service to caring for customers.
However, customer service can be the cornerstone of any successful business. By creating strong bonds with existing customers, not only do businesses build a loyal customer base, but they benefit from good references which can help companies of all types and sizes – from global giants to neighbourhood stores.
This blog post explores the current state of customer service and proposes improvements in customer service culture as the building block of business sustainability.
It all starts at the top! Improving revenues is a serious matter for any business. Boards and C-level executives love to look at growth rates. But they should also love to look at key customer service performance indicators (KPIs) – whatever they may be for their business. Boards should dedicate time to reviewing customer feedback and performance on these KPIs. These can include customer retention rates, feedback survey results, service level reports, and other relevant data. By actively engaging with customer-centric KPIs, boards can set the tone for the entire organisation. Without this process being in place formally, companies can easily forget how revenues are grown and sustained.
Global giants like Amazon and Microsoft, provide good examples of a culture where customer-centricity is a way of life. The key differentiator lies in the board and C-level executives’ emphasis on customer service as a key driver for performance. It is commonly known that leaders like Jeff Bezos look at customer complaints data of their businesses and use it as the primary feedback loop to continuously improve performance. You can well imagine the positive impact of such a process on any business.
Understanding customer interactions across various touchpoints is crucial. From online searches to in-person visits, each interaction forms part of the customer’s journey. Companies must assess whether these touch-points are necessary and, if not, streamline the customer journey. Simplifying the process can lead to greater customer satisfaction. The better this is understood across the organisation, the more it will score on customer service KPIs.
Feedback from customers is invaluable. Whether it comes from digital channels, surveys, or direct interactions, this feedback provides insights into areas that need improvement. Companies should not only collect feedback but also ensure that it reaches the individuals who interact with customers directly. Recognising both, organisational strengths and weaknesses, helps employees focus on enhancing the customer experience.
Culture plays a pivotal role in customer-centricity. Building a customer-centric culture starts by valuing employees. An organisation that fosters communication, trust, and transparency with its staff is more likely to provide exceptional customer service. Empowering front-line employees to address customer issues is also essential. Conversely, companies that do not trust their employees may struggle to deliver good customer service.
Perhaps some companies still hope to survive without being good at customer service. Historically, many organizations were successful as a result of having more demand than supply, for their product or service. Henry Ford’s famous words “Customers can have any colour (of cars) as long as it is black” depict this environment well. In a monopoly, there is no need to measure performance in customer service indicators and sales and marketing personnel could just rest their feet on their desks as customers queued up outside their offices.
However, as much as salesmen would like for that kind of market dynamics, we all know that those days are gone and monopolies are a dying breed!
Transforming customer service culture requires a shift in mindset, starting with boards and C-level executives. By prioritising customer-centric KPIs, simplifying customer journeys, leveraging feedback, and nurturing a customer-centric culture, businesses can enhance customer service experiences. In a rapidly evolving market, those who prioritise their customers are most likely to thrive.