“My Pleasure” is a phrase I’ve become accustomed to hearing these days. Some companies really understand customer service. They know how to hire for it, train for it and deliver it. Creating a customer centric culture is all about understanding your brand value and delivering it consistently to customers. This does not mean doing everything customers want. It means focusing on what they value most, in line with your overall business strategy and brand promise.
- A customer-focused company empowers employees to make decisions that are for the benefit of the customer. They have guidelines versus rules and take the approach that if it isn’t illegal, immoral, won’t cost the company money, and won’t harm the company’s reputation, then consider doing it to take care of the customer.
- A customer-focused company hires people who fit the culture, which means they have the personalities and core-values that align with the company’s vision and mission. Certain jobs may require skill, but skill alone doesn’t always get the job done.
- A customer-focused company spends time and money training for soft skills such as relationship building and customer service. The company recognizes that it takes both, technical and soft skills, to break away from being average.
- The leaders of a customer-focused company set the vision and mission of the culture, and then they lead by example.
- The customer-focused company knows the importance of putting people first – specifically employees. They develop a culture of happy, engaged and fulfilled employees that deliver a better customer experience. Customers like this and continue to come back.
- The customer-focused company looks at customer service as a philosophy to be embraced by every employee of the company, recognizing that there are both external and internal customers.
Nordstrom’s has built a reputation on making customer service the “good” they are selling. When you ask to see a shoe, the salesperson brings you the shoe you requested plus six others that are similar “just in case”. Richard Dickson, president of the Jones Group, believes Nordstrom’s led the charge and to some extent invented the concept of customer centric retail. Other retailers have been borrowing from the Nordstrom playbook for years. Nordstrom’s consistently ranks in the top three in Luxury Institute surveys.
Several years ago, Chick-Fil-A introduced its Second Mile Service. The first mile is doing what’s right for the customer. The second mile “ups the ante.” It’s the above and beyond. It’s helping mothers with children to their tables, refilling drinks, engaging in conversation and opening doors for customer. It’s an authentic smile, and it is absolute “my pleasure”, says Dan Cathy, President and COO of Chick-Fil-A.
Companies that design this kind of organization—focusing on the right metrics, an integrated approach, and well-defined investments—can reap real dividends both internally and externally. They are able to build loyalty, increase retention, and command price premiums. Creating a customer centric culture is all about understanding your brand value and delivering it consistently to customers.
Whether it’s B2B or B2C, what companies do you see as leaders in the customer centric culture? Let us know and as always stay #TopRight!