Building that Customer First Culture

In today’s world, in most situations, the Customer has a lot of power. It is now much easier for a customer to switch retailers without a lot of effort. There was a time when if you needed a decent suit, you went to Marks & Spencers. We all know that they are a prime example of how a retailer can fall behind if they do not pay attention to their customers. In the last 20 years, Customer Service has become the easiest way for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Whether you are online or instore, what kinds of experience you are giving your customers. Not only do they want a good product, good price and a great service, but they want an experience that is Fast, Friendly and Fun. Unless you are a Unicorn company, an Apple or an Amazon, you need to pay attention to your Customer Service as it can easily become your main source of competitive advantage in the marketplace.

This mindset has to start with your own Culture. You cannot expect your employees to really treat your customers well, if you have not done the same to them. If you make your employees happy, they are more likely to speak to your customers with a happy frame of mind.

So what are the things you could do in your organisation to bring about this Customer First culture? Here are 3 ways in which you can create that culture in your organisation without much capital expenditure.

  • Everyone in your organisation needs to understand where they fit into the Customer Journey. Right from the receptionist who answers the phone through to the delivery driver who delivers your products. Everyone needs to be first be told, that their work is valued and secondly, they need to be told how there are helping the business make money. There should be no danger that a careless action of anyone in the Value Chain will disrupt the experience that the Customer is receiving
  • You should be able to walk along the Customer Journey and see the touch points. For example, look at how people become aware of you, how they get to know you, like you and then trust you enough to buy from you. Jan Carlzon, former President of Scandinavian Airlines, did just that. He walked the whole process from searching for flights, booking flights and then taking the flight. He was amazed at what he discovered and set about a programme to transform the airline in terms of improved customer service. This is something that we can all do, very easily.
  • Your KPIs and measurement’s need to reflect this thinking and so not only should you be measuring Sales Numbers, but you should also measure Customer Satisfaction and Complaints. A mistake that many organisations make is to try and setup up a Quality Control department to manage this aspect of their organisation. This cannot be something that is the responsibility of a team of people in the organisation, it has to be something that is built into “how we get things done”, it has to be your organisations culture.

Building a Customer First culture will help you develop a business that focuses on making the customer leave happy. Happy customers will not only return for repeat business, but they will also tell their family and friends the same. Once you can start getting this type of business, you will find your revenue and profitability increasing as repeat business costs much less to win.

Don’t focus on price, anyone can be cheaper. Focus on quality of service, because customers never forget when they have been treated very well. Make the customer experience better than what the customer expects; make it desireable.