If you want to get an edge over your competition, it’s no longer enough to provide them with a good product or service. There are plenty of options out there, so you have to be prepared to demonstrate that you can offer them something that nobody else can. Not only that, but you have to assure them that your company is going to give them the same experience consistently. To that end, you should consider investing in a customer-centric culture as the basis of your corporate empire.
Have a Strategy
Planning things out before you get started is a no-brainer. But you shouldn’t think of this as list of goals and ideas, all lined up with bullet points, ready to ticked off once you’ve’ achieved them. A strategy should be solid, with clear goals, and guiding principles. But it should also be sufficiently flexible, so it has room to change, and develop.
Consider your core philosophy when it comes to your company, and the relation you’re going to want with your customers. From there on, consider different scenarios in which you are going to implement your philosophy. See how it’s going to fare in both positive, and negative contexts. You know what they say, hope for the best, plan for the worst.
Encourage, Don’t Force
Once you’ve got your main principles and strategy down, you need to create a culture around it. Your employees should never feel coerced into ascribing to these principles. It’s better if you find ways to encourage them to do so, so they can voluntarily, and spontaneously apply your principles in real life situations.
First off, you should always try to set a positive example. If you’re not going to follow your own principles, why should your employees? You should show them that the main philosophy of your company stands above everything else, even you. Your employees shouldn’t feel like they have to ascribe to your vision of a customer-centric culture just because you are their boss.
And when comes to their own implementation of this culture, you should focus on the positive results. Let them know you appreciate their efforts. Consider giving bonuses, or throwing parties for the employee of the month. This will encourage the others to follow suit, and they’ll feel more at ease participating in this culture, since they won’t feel pressured by anything to join in, on the contrary.
Create a Community Within
Before you take your customer-centric culture out in the world, you have to focus on building a community within. This process should start even before you start hiring. Consider the kind of people who are going to fit in. Creating a pleasant environment of like-minded people is going to boost your company’s efficiency more than hiring only the best available talent, and experts. Positive work cultures have been proven to be much more profitable than aggressively competitive, and overly regulated ones.
The sense of a community is essential when you want to instill in your employees a certain of shared values. Rules and regulations can only take you so far, but you have to make sure that your employees are genuinely interested in promoting your customer culture. And the best way you can do that is to make them feel like they’re a part of that culture. Then, when the time comes, you can trust your employees to make the right decision in tense situations, even if you’re not around to offer them guidance.
Always Put People First
Putting people first is a worn out motto, everyone uses without really thinking about it. Putting people first means, first and foremost, thinking about everyone as people, and only then thinking about them as customers, or employees and such. Your employees are human beings, just like your customers. If you truly want to develop a customer-centric empire, you need to show your employees you understand that they won’t be able to give a 100% all of the time. This will encourage them to be more patient and understanding with customers, and their needs. And you won’t have to keep monitoring them to do so.
To maximize your potential for customer satisfaction, while minimizing the effort it takes your employees to provide it, invest in technology. Many large companies have their own apps, designed to streamline their interaction with their customers. It can take some of burden off of your employee’s shoulders, and it’s going to empower your customers.
The Trickle-Down Effect of Respect
When you’re managing a corporate empire, you’re not going to be able to keep a watchful eye on your employees. When customer feedback starts coming in, it might be too late. The best thing you can do in these situations is, paradoxically, to trust your employees that they are going to make the right decisions, at the right time.
Once you’ve given them all the tools necessary to interact with your customers according to your company’s principles, you have to avoid micromanaging your employees. If they have been offered proper training, they should know what do. If you still find there are constant issues with your customers’ satisfaction levels, or if you have a hard time attracting new clients, don’t start firing employees left and right. Find out what the problem is, and ask them for suggestions on how to improve the situation. After all, they are the ones mediating between your company and your customers. They are the ones who know what goes on.
This is going to show your employees that you respect them, and in turn, the respect you show them is going to reflect in the way in which they interact with customers. They’re going to be much more willing to invest time and effort into customer satisfaction, because they’ll feel like there’s a personal stake. The success of your business is going to be their success as well.
With such a vast number of choices on the market, having a good product or service is now just a basic requirement. If you truly want to attract more customers, and make them stay for longer, you have to consistently show them they are main focus of your company, not finances, and earnings. And to do that, you have to trust your employees, and their willingness to ascribe to your customer-centric philosophy.